Home Vineyard Growing Wine Grapes at Home
Hello and welcome to my home vineyard Let's get a lay of the land. As you can see thisis just a simple side yard it's got about 55 feet of space long twentysix feet of space wide we elected to go with twenty twofoot long rows northsouth facing uh. the rows are spaced about five feet apartto give us ample space for the vines to grow
and for us to manage and walk through we are planting about four plants per row to give it plenty of space to spread out and grow for the rows, we used uh. just simple fenceposts these are eightfoot fence post sunk about threefeet deep we tried to go about two feet deep butit wasn't uh. it just simply wasn't stable enough so we went that extra foot for stability
the wire is fourteen gauge wire uh. we elected to go with the verticaltrellising partly because it was easier and partlybecause uh. the north south facing rows, it allow it to get sun at all hours of the day uh. we have a drip irrigation linesran along the bottom we will be using half gallon per hour drips two per plant that allows us to adjust the water
water flow and manage the irrigation a littleeasier than if we used a heavier flow we'll actually be planting syrah grapes because we tend to be in a warmer, drier climateduring the summer doing something like pinot noirwould require greater cooler temperatures. that sort of thing that's our vineyard. We'll be planting the grapes nextweek and we'll come back then.
Ordering Grape Vines from Harvest Express Planting
all right so we finally got our vinesin we ordered them from harvest express dot com they come in bundles of 15 we've got 3 bundles for 44 plants. We'll have one extra and we'll figure out what to do with that later. This is the box it came in. All forty five vines are in this little box. Next day shipping was really nice. So lets open it up and see we've got in there Alright, so inside the bag
we've got all forty five vines and they come in bundles of fifteen as you can see here this is how they come, just little cuttings we'll be planting these in the rows today. Also coming with the vines careful not to break them are little covers for them, these will help keep them moist new plantings come out of thefreezer and they tend to be very susceptible to dehydration so these will help keep the
soil moist until the roots get established and all the irrigation gets sorted out all that kinda stuff press it in about two inches deep and there you go the little guy's right in there so we've got all the plants planted and in the groundall forty four of them got sleeves on, they're wet uh. only thing that's left to do nowis change the irrigation a little bit so
the new vines can get plenty of water uh. we'll be dooing that next but uh. it'll be a few months before we get anygood growth on there so we'll check back as soon as we've got something to show. Sp for wine at home dot tv, I will talk to you later.
Knowing when to harvest your grapes
gt;gt;TOM VAN DER LINDEN: It's a beautiful Septemberday in Minnesota. We're at the Horticultural Research Center at the University of Minnesotaand it's time to harvest the grapes. But how do you know when it's time to pické I'll showyou how to tell when the grapes are ripe and I'll show you some measurements to be sure,because it's important. After all, better grapes mean better wine. The most important day of the year is theday you pick. It sets in motion the annual harvest and it also determines the kind ofwine you'll make. As a grape grower and a wine maker you should keep a notebook. You'llbe glad to have records in the months and
years to come. Let's start with sight, touch, smell, andtaste. You want your grapes to be rich in color, not green. A ripe grape will crusheasily, but not be shriveled. A ripe grape is plump, and thickly juicy. It's a balancebetween sweet and tart. Each variety develops special flavors that we call varietal flavor.A fully ripe grape develops its varietal flavor more fully. Does the skin have varietal flavoré Is itherbaceous, or is it vegetal, like a green pepperé Is the aftertaste pleasant or is itbitteré Chemical or vinegar tastes or smells are flaws so take good notes if you have thatproblem. One more time, taste the grape and
imagine what the wine will be. Then we'llmove on to some lab work. It's good to use your senses but it's alsoimportant to measure. You need to measure sugar content, pH, and acidity level. Grapesare mostly water and sugar which will ferment to make wine. Brix is a term that the brewingindustry uses to measure the sugar content of grapes. Brix level helps estimate the alcohollevel of your wine. Like temperature, Brix is measured in degrees. Brix is measured witha refractometer, which you can buy at a winemaking supply store or online. Drop some juice onthe test plate, close the cover firmly and look through the viewfinder. You'll see aline where your juice registers on an internal
scale. In this case, the juice registers 24degrees Brix. A somewhat less convenient, but cheaper methodis to buy a simple glass hydrometer which has a builtin scale. Simply pour your juiceinto the cylinder, float your hydrometer and read the Brix level right off the builtinscale. The more sugar in your wine, the higher your hydrometer will float. As your grapesmature, they store more sugar so the Brix level rises. Different wine styles requiredifferent Brix levels. In general, for white wine, 22 Brix is good. We'll keep an eye onour grapes, testing them periodically, and when we reach our Brix goal, then it's timeto pick.
We now know about sugar and how to measureit. Next let's quickly shift to pH and the pH meter. You may remember pH from high schoolscience class. It's a measure of free hydrogen ions. As our grapes ripen and the sugar rises,the pH will rise too. You can buy an inexpensive, portable pH meter. Be sure you buy pH referencesolutions so you can calibrate your meter. Grape juice is full of natural acids, whichlend important qualities to wine. Every time we measure Brix we should also measure acidlevels. In a way they're opposites; as the Brix goes up, the acid levels go down. Youcan buy a simple acid test kit. It takes a little practice and a little care and you'llwant to make good records, but don't worry,
you can do it! So enough with measuring and tasting, let'sgo pick! Are you ready to pické Let's start by pickinga good sample. Yes, you can pick one grape, put it in your refractometer and take a sugarsample, but it won't be very representative of all your grapes. Instead, pick individualgrapes from many clusters. Sample from both sides of the vine, high and low, in sunnyareas and shaded areas, and pick from different parts of each cluster. An ideal sample mightbe 50 grapes. But if you only have a few vines, it'll be okay to take a smaller sample. Makea note about how they felt, how they smelled,