If you want to start making your own wine, then you must know that planting and growing wine grapes takes a lot of research, effort, planning and passion. Even though it might seem difficult at first, especially because you don’t have the necessary experience, you have to keep in mind that everything can be learned and the feeling you’ll have when you taste your very first batch of homemade wine is worth all the trouble and even more.
Planting Wine Grapes
The process of planting wine grapes needs to be done step by step and there are a lot of things that you need to do before putting the vines into the ground. First of all, you need to choose the proper growing site, which needs to have good drainage and full access to sunlight. It’s best to plant your vines on a southeast to southwest slope, but before that you also need to test the soil. Keep in mind that for winemaking you want small grape berries, so the soil must be nutrient-poor and even dry. What you need to do afterwards is install the trellising and the irrigation equipment. Once you’ve done all these, you’re ready to plant your grapevines.
Grapevines can be planted starting from late spring to early summer, so you shouldn’t rush into things. The vineyard is best placed toward the top of the slope and a great way to lay it out would be to plant six rows of 12 vines without forgetting to leave enough space to turn around at the end of each row. It’s a good idea to make the vineyard at least 80 feet by 52 feet. When planting the vines, you should dig generous holes and loosen the soil to ensure very good drainage. Grapevines don’t like humidity, and if the roots stand in water for a long time, they will simply die.
Growing Wine Grapes
Growing wine grapes is for patient people who don’t mind waiting up to three years to see the first results of their work and investments because, yes, it will take three years to get usable wine grapes and during this time you must know how to tend to your vineyard. First, you need to use stakes to support the growing vines, so that in the first year, when the longest vines reach six inches in length, you can tie them up to the stake. You must always remove the shorter vines to give the longest one space to develop. By the end of the first year, this vine might reach the top of the stake and in the second year the vines will start growing on the trellis. If you’ve done everything right, you should have your first wine grapes by the end of the third year.
After the tedious, but rewarding process of planting and growing the wine grapes, there comes the time to harvest them and prepare them to make your very first batch of good wine. But how do you know this time has come? It’s very important to pick the fruit not when it’s necessarily ripe, but when you’ve made sure it has reached maturity. There are some ways in which you can figure this out. The easiest way is to taste the grapes, but this is not always the best one, especially if you haven’t done it before. If the seeds are green, then you should wait a bit longer, until they become brownish or even dark. But to make sure that you harvest the grapes at the right time, you should simply buy a hydrometer, which will measure the specific gravity of liquids and tell you the sugar content of the berries. If the gravity is somewhere between 1.095 and 1.105, then it means this is the perfect time to pick them and immediately take them to the winery. This way you make sure that you’ll have the best grapes for winemaking.
Wine quality depends a lot on grapevines and the wine grapes that start to grow after the third year, and after that on the recipes you use, fermentation and racking. This is why you have to take good care of your vineyard from the very beginning. If everything sounds too difficult, just remember that after you finally set up the vineyard, plant the vines and take good care of them in the first years, everything will become much easier and you’ll gain so much experience that you will be able to make your own wine with your eyes closed.
Grape Growing Secrets
I recommend you one of the best and most inspiring ebook you could ever find on Internet about wine grapes growing: Grape Growing & Wine Making – A Handbook for Beginners.
This is not just an ebook, but a true bible for those who want to have a vineyard or want to start a business in the wine industry.
Continue reading the article The Process Of Making Wine if are still interested.