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How to Build a Frame for Grapevines

By Catherine Duffy ; Updated September 21, 2017
Grapes flourish on well-constructed trellises.

Grapevines are cultivated in a range of configurations. Small gardens display espaliered grapevines climbing walls or decorative fences. Large, commercial producers use a variety of frames -- from H-brace end-post systems to end-post tie systems to anchored end-post systems. Each of these frames, or growing systems, is adapted to a specific type of climate, soil condition and grape. Small-scale, home grape growers use a basic trellis system that combines the need for production with the limitations of space and a nod to aesthetics.

Step 1

Choose a site for the trellis. Level sites with access to water and sun are superior to other sites.

Step 2

Mark the ground for postholes and plants. Space the planting hole marks six to seven feet apart for European grape cultivars and seven to eight feet apart for American varieties.

Step 3

Dig end postholes to a depth of 2 to 3 feet and a diameter of eight inches.

Step 4

Dig line posts holes to a depth of 2 feet with a four to five inch diameter. Space line posts every three plants, or 18 to 21 feet apart.

Step 5

Set end posts in the ground, canted slightly away from the rest of the row.

Step 6

Set line posts in their positions, keeping them perpendicular to the ground.

Step 7

String 12-gauge wire from end post to line posts to end post. Keep a taut tensile strength.


Things You Will Need

  • Posts (concrete, steel or wood)
  • Shovel or posthole digger
  • 12-gauge wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Gloves


  • When planting your grapevines, tie a wire to the base vine and extend it to the upper wire frame. The vine will climb this wire until it is thick enough to stand on its own.
  • Posts should be 8 feet high. This height allows for maximum vine growth.
  • Treat wood posts with a copper treatment to prevent erosion, or use native woods such as cedar or orange osage that are water-repellent.
  • For decorative purposes, allow your mature grape vines to dangle from the cordon -- the main arm of the growing vine. This gives a garden a full, lush appearance.


  • Lightning is attracted to tall, metal trellises. If you live in an area that is prone to thunderstorms, use wood posts rather than metal-based support posts. Doing so will decrease the risk of injury to yourself and your vines.

About the Author


Catherine Duffy's writing can be found on gardening blogs, tech sites and business blogs. Although these topics seem quite different, they have one area in common: systems and design. Duffy makes systems and design (as they pertains to plants, supply chains or software) entertaining and welcoming to general readers.