I have put together a ‘how to’ for growing your grapevine, although I could write for pages and pages on the topic please find some helpful beginning steps.

For the summer we have had some grapevines for sale from the shop, we are offering two varieties one being a Bacchus grape and the other is a Pinot Noir Précoce also known as Frühburgunder. You can find details on these at the end.

Enjoy growing everyone.

Where to plant your grapevine

Grapevines are long term plants that can live between 50 to 100 years, so making sure you choose the perfect permanent location is important!

Grapevines thrive in sloped and hilly areas that offer up plenty of drainage and sunlight, so where possible, plant your grapevines on a downward slope on a south facing hill in an area clear of other trees and large plants.

The soil they like      

Grape vines are a little picky about their soil conditions, they like soil that’s slightly rocky or sandy and if you want to get technical they like a soil pH of just above 7. One thing they don’t like is soggy roots, so amend drainage accordingly.

Climbing Plants

Yes grapevines are climbing plants that like to grow upwards along a support structure. If you are not planting along a fence or other structure you will need to construct or buy a trellis for them to crawl up.

Ideally when to plant

The perfect time is a frost free day in about late winter or early spring; this is also when pruning should take place in forthcoming years.

Watering

Your vine doesn’t like heavy water or rain so after the first watering keep the amount you give it to a minimum. Remember small amounts on a regular basis and you can’t go wrong.

Pruning

This might be heart breaking for some but for the first year your vine should not be allowed to produce any fully matured fruits, as these can damage the young vine. Cut back all fruit, as well as the vines except for the strongest that branch off the cane.

Very important, always prune your vine when dormant, they will otherwise bleed their sap losing vigour and mojo. Do this in late winter when it’s no longer frosty outside.

Pests

Vines are quite hardy so only a little pest control is needed. Most insects are a good thing especially ladybirds because they eat aphids which can be a problem for grapevines.

Main things to remember are:

  • Keeps weeds at bay.
  • Cover your vine in bird net to keep birds away if necessary or use a bird scaring devices.
  • Airflow is very, very important to prevent powdery mildew and other fungal diseases, can be a big problem if airflow is minimal and the weather is damp.

Last bit but best bit

You probably won’t have strong edible fruit for about 2-3 years, and harvest is typically early to mid-October. Taste is the best indication of ripeness unless you have a hydrometer or more technical equipment. Even if they are rich in colour and a good size, taste the fruit from different areas and if they are sweet pick away.

Remember! Grapes do not continue to ripen after picking so be sure not to pick prematurely.

Thanks for reading and I hope this proves helpful, if you are now excited to start growing then we have the two varieties for sale from the Polgoon shop and Deli and for more information please pop in and see us to take part in a vineyard tour and tasting.

Bacchus

Its grapes have a strong and distinctive aromatic flavour, with high sugar content. It is regularly made into a single variety wine although common in Germany it is also very successful in the UK.  Some wines produced from this grape develop good New World Sauvignon Blanc. This is one of the UK’s better varieties and is the third most widely planted variety in the UK so definitely one to get started with.

Frühburgunder

Known also as Pinot Noir Précoce is an early ripening Pinot Noir, with Früh in Germany means early. It is a dark blue-black grape that is popular in colder regions making the UK very suitable. Pinot Noir Précoce is generally full in flavour and low in acidity making for a light flavour.