Enter a prestigious, elegant and profitable industry… the world of grape growing. If you’re going to start growing grapes, you need the best grape growing information you can find to help you profit from the distribution of them.
Here’s a high level overview of the market and opportunity for the entrepreneurial grape grower.
There are 3 markets or distribution channels within the grape growing industry.
1) The Production of Red, White and Blush Wines
Of all the grapes grown in the world, about 99.2% of them are produced for making wine. In the United States, seventy-one percent of grapes grown are produced to make wines.
This is important as it gives us a mental picture on the size of the market, because if you decide to start growing grapes yourself, you’ll need to know where exactly where distribute them for the highest profit.
One of your first distribution channels may be wineries or other facilities that process grapes. If you don’t plan to market your grapes for this purpose, you will probably distribute them to the other 27% of the market, which are grocery stores and the like…
2) Distributed for Direct Consumption
Grapes sold for the purpose of direct consumption are known as table grapes.
Table grapes sold to this market make up the second largest distribution channel in the U.S.. With the ever-growing reports of the health effects of the skin of red grapes, this market continues to grow and remain lucrative.
3) Dried or Dry Fruit Market
The last distribution channel for your crop, is the industry that captures 2% of the market. This market is for grapes that are produced for making dried fruits… ie) raisins.
Distributed in stand-alone packages or added to fruit boxes and cereal mixes, this market is slowly growing as the diversification of the product being distributed is being used for multiple purposes.
Yet, if you wish profit from the largest market, you’ll find yourself contacting local and possibly international wineries for the distribution of your crop. But don’t forget, not all wineries are created equal. Some may have a more selective acquisition process which may leave you with a portion of your crop unsold. To squeeze out every dollar you can, you may find it advantageous to acquire multiple contacts in all three markets and use the “trickle down” effect… if you crop gets passed from one channel, to the next.
Either way, there’s always room for your crop to be acquired, even if they don’t pass for Wine quality, but given the market for dried grapes is only 2%, you’ll want to make every effort to grow the most healthy grapes you can from the start.
If you decide to start your own small vineyard to grow grapes, your chances of success are very good, as there are many varieties of grape species that thrive in many climates.
With thousands of vineyards across the world, don’t think you’ll be discounted from distribution because you start the grape growing process in your own backyard. On the contrary, many large vineyard owners started out small and simply grew because they produced a fantastic product that grew in demand. Growing grapes is not that difficult. You just need the knowledge and the desire to succeed.
The Complete Grape Growing System
Don’t you just wish that there was a single source that could provide you with the complete grape growing system – one that would guide you through each step in the grape growing process? Look no more because you will find everything that there is to know about growing grapes with this established grape growing system.
Pre-Planting Considerations and Preparations:
Availability of garden space: Take a good look at your garden. Even better, take out a measuring stick and measure the unoccupied garden space. Each grape vine needs to be spaced at least 8 feet apart from each other. Plan the number of grape vines you will grow based on the available space.
Sun exposure of available space: Grapes need the sun in order to grow and ripen fast which is why you should see if the available garden space gets at least 8 hours of sun exposure. If not, eliminate anything that gets in the way of the sun’s rays or choose a space that’s better exposed to the sun.
Grape variety according to climate: Grapes belong to different varieties and species. Some varieties are more tolerant to winter frost compared to others. Generally though, grapes thrive in hot climates. Before choosing a grape variety then, check if they will thrive in your area. An easier way of finding out which variety flourishes in your area is to talk with local gardeners or to take a visit to local wineries – if there are any.
Grape variety according to needs: After narrowing down your choices according to your region’s climate, further narrow down the grape varieties based on your needs. While some grape varieties can only be used to make wines or for fresh eating, others are versatile enough to serve different functions.
Garden soil type and acidity: Check your garden soil and identify what it is made of. Ideally, the soil must be well-draining and nutritious at the same time. The candidate is then a mixture of loam and sandy soil. Next, using a soil acidity kit, check the acidity of your garden soil. You can purchase this from gardening stores. Grapes prefer a soil pH between 5.0 and 6.5. This can be achieved by incorporating ground sulfur, ferrous sulfate, or peat moss into the soil. If the soil pH is greater than 7.0, you can add dolomite to the soil to reduce it.
Planting and Maintenance:
Soil preparation: Dig holes that are deep enough and large enough for the roots of your purchased grape seedlings. Damage to the roots of the grape vines must be avoided at all costs which is why the holes should have adequate space. Also, don’t forget to space each hole appropriately. It is also a good idea to dampen the soil with a little water after digging.
Planting the grape vines: Grape vines are best planted in the late days of the spring season, when there are no signs of frost left behind by the recent winter.
Watering: Grape vines can survive being watered at least once a week in temperate regions with regular rains. If it’s too hot or there is a drought, more frequent watering may be needed. But by the time the grapes grow out of the vines, watering is ideally done less often because it will only delay the ripening of the grapes. Just before winter though, when the leaves of the plants fall off, one huge watering of the grapes is necessary to help them get survive until spring.
Pruning: Pruning your grape vines is highly important and should be done as soon as you plant the seedlings in your garden. When done properly, you will get a substantial amount of grapes that are of high quality.
Harvesting: Wait until your grapes are ripe before harvesting them. You will know if it is the right time to harvest when the grapes have reached their darkest possible color – which may be black, green, bronze, red, or purple, depending on variety.
Diseases: Monitor your grape vines for any plant diseases and take action as soon as you identify any so you can maintain the integrity of your grape yield.