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9CourseWineMusician

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Blumentopferde,

That is very sound and good advice. Thank you! I do feel that when it comes for me to plant it would be wise to start with only a few plants, if nothing else to see how they react and what they do.

Thank you again!
 

BobR

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My advice as a fellow novice-grape grower:

Start small! In the beginning you tend to underestimate the workload a vineyard brings along! And it's a whole lot of work!

Also your taste and your goals will change during your journey. So don't plant too much at once, you might not be satisfied with your choice in the near future!

Start with easy varieties! You might learn more about spraying and pruning with a delicate variety, but you might lose many plants on that way ;)
Well Said!!! I started out with seven Concord plants in my backyard in 2009. Started them from cuttings in March of that year and put them out when the weather warmed up. By fall they were all over five feet tall.
The next year, I planted more about 1/4 mile behind my house and then each year a few more. They were all enjoyable until this past year. I planted 54 plants by the time this fall had come around and since my 150 cuttings did not root....not one of them, I relied all on nursery stock. Years ago, I messed up my lower back and now being retired, it tends to act up more now than before. With these 54 plants, they did not grow like the original plants of '09, so all of my work with these plants were at my feet to maybe two feet tall. Now after spending anytime at all bent over or on crawling around on your knees, ya just don't straighten up to quick. With that being said, I still really enjoy messing with them and I now have 120 plants with more ordered for the spring.
There is a lot to learn and I take it one step at a time. I have found that unless you really screw up big time, they are a forgiving plant.....you don't see many unhealthy wild grapes growing. They can be relaxing and I enjoy being out in them no matter what the season. I'm ready to try again on the cutting. In fact, I have 4 plants growing downstairs in front of the patio door.
Take your time and enjoy your new hobby. Read what you can and if you are still unsure, you will find that the Grapeman is a walking grape encyclopedia.
 

blumentopferde

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I have found that unless you really screw up big time, they are a forgiving plant.....you don't see many unhealthy wild grapes growing.
I plunged straight into viniferas and organic growing. My property is in the middle of a wine growing area and we are in realtively cool area with lots of rainfalls. No need to mention that I had big trouble with pest control right from the beginning.

So I really understand grapeman's advice not to start out with organic growing ;)

And young vines can be very unforgiving! I lost almost lost half of my young vines (1st year! the vines in the second year did well) during last years hot summer (no irrigation installed as we usually have lots of rainfalls)... :(
 

drumlinridgewinery

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A lot of great ideas. Many I did . Think about maybe joining a local wine makers club. I did this and it really opened my eyes to what my local region could grow. The group I am with has lots of local wise people that have done it already and are willing to help someone get started.

Have fun its a great journey
 

Sacalait

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ibglowin said:
I don't mean to be rude but....... I would do your own research first and foremost and not basically ask to be spoon fed from an easy chair every last detail you want to know about grape growing from the many experienced members on this forum. If you have specific problems or questions that's fine to ask after you have exhausted efforts to see if the question has already been asked and answered before. Use the search button. It is your friend. Read. Read some more. Especially read threads like grapeman's "Vineyard from the ground up". Talk to your local AG extension about what grows well in your area. Visit local wineries and see what is doing well for them. Read some more.
Well said!
 

9CourseWineMusician

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I would agree for someone further along than I am. While I am definitely a 'big boy' and quite intelligent, I was simply seeking a DIRECTION to go in which our awesome venerable members have more than provided.

Cheers!
 

9CourseWineMusician

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I got the books you guys suggested! I am excited to see what they have to offer! I'll keep you posted!
 

grapeman

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Enjoy reading them. It will give you some insight into what to do and then you can ask about what you don't quite get. Have fun!
 

9CourseWineMusician

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That, dear friend, is exactly the plan - reading - as we speak - on my Kindle now! This is FASCINATING! I never knew this 'world' existed beyond the corks and labels! WOW!
 

9CourseWineMusician

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UPDATE!

It seems that, so far of all that I have read, there is an air of 'doom and gloom' so to speak to START a vineyard and/or winery. What I was thinking, at least at first, was to plant a few rows in my back yard (provided my soil can support the plants - I'm not to concerned with varietals at this point as I am with process). Then as JohnT and Sour Grapes and others have made mention of - I could get, what seems like, all the equipment I would need for such a small affair for under $750.

Am I possibly missing something - or are these books that I am reading just geared towards people looking to jump into a major investment with both feet (no pun intended).

...curious.
 

BobR

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UPDATE!
Am I possibly missing something - or are these books that I am reading just geared towards people looking to jump into a major investment with both feet (no pun intended).

...curious.
Hmmm, never got that impression from those books. Thought that they were excellent for the home grower/wine maker.
 

mgmarty

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Some of what I read, before starting my vineyard, did make a point of "is this really something you want to do?" After just one year, I can attest that is far more work, and more costly than I imagined. I grew 7 merlot and cab franc along a fence before planting my vineyard. I'm hoping my second year is a little easier. (Some one out there is probably laughing at that.)
 

grapeman

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:):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Sorry Marty I could not resist, but seriously each of the first few years gets exponentially more work as the vines get growing seriously. And yes there is continued expenses although once you get the trellis in, that helps.
 

blumentopferde

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UPDATE!

What I was thinking, at least at first, was to plant a few rows in my back yard.
If you do all the work with your hands planting dozens of vines will be a whole lot of work! I'd rather start smaller...


(provided my soil can support the plants)
Almost any soil, unless it is a swamp or very wet, can support grapes. I would still have it tested before planting, because this is the best time to balance nutrient deficiencies!

- I'm not to concerned with varietals at this point as I am with process).
But you should. This will be the second decision in your grape growing career (the first one is ro choose the site), and it is quite fundamental, as it will affect your trellis system and as you will be bound to your decision for many years!

Then as JohnT and Sour Grapes and others have made mention of - I could get, what seems like, all the equipment I would need for such a small affair for under $750.
What would that equipment be?
For creating a trellis system I perceived a long tape measure, a small auger and a manual pile driver as the most valuable tools.

Cheers,
blumentopferde
 

9CourseWineMusician

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Blume,

Thank you so much for all of that insight! Now, by "not concerned with varietals" I simply meant that I will work whatever I can get my hands on as this particular ruse will NOT be my permanent establishment - only my 'tip-toe' into the pool, if you will.

The equipment I was referring to was the post viticulturing: deseeder and destemmer, presses....carboys...ect. However, with that, I am glad to hear of what I will need to begin PLANTING, thank you for that (hadn't even considered it, to be honest).

Also thank you for your advice on soil, I was going to have it tested, but it is good to know that I may actually have some lee-way to choose my varietal(s).

Thanks again! I'll keep you posted.
 

blumentopferde

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Blume,

Thank you so much for all of that insight! Now, by "not concerned with varietals" I simply meant that I will work whatever I can get my hands on as this particular ruse will NOT be my permanent establishment - only my 'tip-toe' into the pool, if you will.
I don't quite understand... Wineplants are permanent - What are you going to do with these "temporary" vines, once you have your final wineyard?

The equipment I was referring to was the post viticulturing: deseeder and destemmer, presses....carboys...ect. However, with that, I am glad to hear of what I will need to begin PLANTING, thank you for that (hadn't even considered it, to be honest).
I have no idea about the prices in the USA, so I can't give you any advice on that. I just want to point out a few things:
- If you sart small (which I suggest) a deseeder (never heard of such such a thing before!), destemmer and a huge winepress will be useless! There's just no point in putting a few grapes into a huge machine which you will have to clean afterwards ;)
- If you're aiming to a commercial scale, I wouldn't recommend machines that require lots of manual work.

I'd ask myself these questions:

- How much wine do I want to produce?
- Who is going to drink all that wine?
- How much time do I have for this?
- How much money can I spend on this?

Cheers,
blumentopferde
 

9CourseWineMusician

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Blume,

I am sorry for the confusion. What I meant was that the vines I plant (in my back yard) to start, will remain - however I will not be running a winery out of my back yard; only starting there.

Also forgive me my lack of vocabulary as far as equipment goes - but my first foray will merely require table-top equipment, and as I find land and my vineyard grows...so, too, will my equipment (as needed).

So the questions you've posed that I should be asking myself:
1. How much wine do I want to produce?
- To start, just a successful batch; in the future - I want to be a national brand name (maybe even international).

2. Who is going to drink all of this wine?
- Everyone!

3. How much time do I have to do this?
- Being that I am working a full-time job, it will take all of my free time; but I have the remainder of a life-time of free time to accomplish this.

4. How much money can I spend on this?
- All available disposable income (which is not much...for now). Being the erstwhile 'Trep that I am I would seek, first, to bootstrap my business as much as I could.

Note: This is why I am starting small - to be sure I can leverage my resources properly to make this a reality. I have all the motivation and dream required (more than, in fact!) now I need to be sure that shaking hands with mother nature I can hold up my end of the bargain.

Thanks!
 

blumentopferde

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I am sorry for the confusion. What I meant was that the vines I plant (in my back yard) to start, will remain - however I will not be running a winery out of my back yard; only starting there.
Then you might plant several different varieties to see which one suits best to you. Keep in mind though that this would multiply the work load as different varieties should be harvested at different times and squeezed and fermented seperately.
but my first foray will merely require table-top equipment, and as I find land and my vineyard grows...so, too, will my equipment
In that case 750$ for used equipent sounds much to me!

in the future - I want to be a national brand name (maybe even international).
So you have big plans, and a lot of research and investment to make! Good luck with that!
 

dwhill40

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Pick a spot that will be sunny all day away from grownup tangles and briars preferably on a high point with nice breezes.

Get your soil tested so you can amend it first. Shoveling in soil amendments around grapes can turn into some serious work.

Go to google research and price - trellising, irrigation, rootstock, pierce disease, beneficial plants, vitis vinifera, hybrid grapes, row orientation, soil types, soil amendments, systemic pesticides, white-grey-black-brown mildew/rot, micchorizea, cover crops, composting, growing organic, budbreak, grafting, rootstock again, hybrid varieties, american varieties, pruning. And each one of those subjects has sub-categories.

Lay out your rows, amend the soil, digs holes, plant grapes, install trellis, water well, and watch them grow!
 
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