Home Wine Grape Growing

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.

Serving Growing Ohios Grape and Wine Industry

Last January, January 6ththe official day of the polar vortex we experienced really damaging temperatures.Anywhere from around twenty below zero to about sixteen below zerowhere it killed the fruiting buds and it killed actual grape vines.And we've never experienced any damage like this before.And we've never we really didn't know the extentof the damage on the vines until April May in that time frame when we didn't see anybuds developing and even some of thetrunks cracked.

But the impact of that was dramaticwe have no crop at all in our vinifera and we grow varieties like Chardonnay, PinotNoir, Cabernet Franc, Rieslingand without any grapes, we were forced to buya lot of grapes. But it's had a huge impactas far as the grape production not to mention the actual wine losswhich is two or three years spanning. Because in some of the vineyardsthat will have to be replaced from the ground up

with new vines we will not get the first crop is three to four years out.So the impact is just dramatic and millions and millions of dollars.Actually in the viticulture program at Ohio Stateone of our focus of the research is cold hardiness of grapes.So really that's one of my expertise in this fieldof learning more about how grapes cope with freezing with cold in general.After this cold event our growers really needed a lot of help in terms of how to not onlyassess

the damage but also how to deal with the vinesthat are damaged. And we conducted a lot of workshops just toshow them how to prune the vines. Our relationship with Ohio State goes wayback in the 1980'sWe've had a long standing relationship with ongoing research in the wineryand in the vineyards. Currently with Imed Damiour research stems lately from the cold winter vortexwhere we've had a lot of the vines killed and damagedfrom the minus twenty degree temperatures.

Current research is kind of involved tothe extent of the damage to determine the actual damage andto have pruning studies done to see what was the best way to prunethese injured vines. We have not had temperatures that coldsince 1994 here and myself and a lot of the grape growershave not experienced this cold damage. So we need research to help uskind of figure out what's the next step and see what our future is in these vineyards.

Growing Grapes for Wine

The way that Remember when we were standing out in the vineyard, we were looking at all these clusters and we were saying quot;this is too much fruit we're going to have to thin thisquot;é The person who created the system for figuring out how much that fruit was going to weigh when it was harvested long enough in advance, i.e. now,

so that we could do something about it to get the crop right, was Steve Price in the Hort department at OSU in the 80s who came up with this simple system that is used all around the world now to predict crop level. Well the system is You'd think that somebody would have

figured this out in advance of 1980s Corvallis, but nobody had. You basically wait until the sort of one to two week window when the grapevine shifts gears. It's been sort of building the cluster weight and growing all at the same time, so that the

are still growing and the clusters, the berries, the individual berries, are still getting bigger. And they'll continue to do that until sometime in late July basically, maybe early August. But then there's this window where the vine kind of changes what it's about to do, because from then on it's going to be all about

making sugar and growing the grape size. But for the two weeks, sometimes only a week and a half, the grapes don't change weight. It's a lag growth phase. And if you weigh the grapes at that point, and do a good job of estimating how many grapes are out there

and you double it, you basically know what the weight of that block that you just estimated. Obviously it depends on grape estimation skill and it depends on, to some extent, on the year because not every year does it double. There was a year a couple years ago where it didn't really double.

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