Help with small vineyard planning

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ChuckD

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Having been bitten by the wine making bug, I’m already planning a small vineyard… I already have 24 vines on the way in June.

The space I have in mind is a fallow field that last saw cultivation about 25 years ago. It is gently sloping with a southeast aspect. So do I arrange the rows north-south or parallel to the slope? I think parallel looks better.

I was thinking about using the Geneva double trellis system so I have a 12 -foot row spacing. I figured with a 7-foot plant spacing I would have room here for about 80 vines which should be more than enough for me. I would have the entire area sprayed, chisel plowed, disked and dragged flat this spring. I’ll plant it all in grass so it’s ready if I expand.

I would appreciate any feedback.

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VinesnBines

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I ran my vines on the North - South direction. My vineyard faces due South. It is balmy and warm on a sunny 30 degree day. My slope can be as much as 23 degrees. Average slope is 17 degrees so we went up and down the slope.
 

ChuckD

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Is there really a benefit running them N-S? The few large trees along the marsh are soon to be dead thanks to Mr Emerald Ash Borer so I will have full exposure to the south. I have nothing like the slopes you have so erosion isn’t a concern. I just thought a diagonal placement in the space looked nice.

what kind of plant and row spacing do you prefer?
 

ibglowin

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In the "olden days" you wanted to plant along the N-S so you maximized sun exposure and you had a better chance of ripening grapes fully. These days with the temp extremes and heat spikes we are seeing these days that may no longer be the best idea. Looks like you have a nice compromise there. Its not about what looks better ascetically its about what will grow the best fruit in the end.

Also what ar you growing? Cold Hardy? Vinifera? The trellis system depends on the grape variety really.

Having been bitten by the wine making bug, I’m already planning a small vineyard… I already have 24 vines on the way in June.

The space I have in mind is a fallow field that last saw cultivation about 25 years ago. It is gently sloping with a southeast aspect. So do I arrange the rows north-south or parallel to the slope? I think parallel looks better.

I was thinking about using the Geneva double trellis system so I have a 12 -foot row spacing. I figured with a 7-foot plant spacing I would have room here for about 80 vines which should be more than enough for me. I would have the entire area sprayed, chisel plowed, disked and dragged flat this spring. I’ll plant it all in grass so it’s ready if I expand.

I would appreciate any feedback.

View attachment 82169
 

ChuckD

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I have ordered 12 Marquette and 12 Marechal Foch vines to start. I’m in NE Wisconsin. zone 4b although a newer map upgrades me to 5a. A UW Extension grape publication recommend single or double wire.
 

ibglowin

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Your new but there is a wealth of info on this website on most every aspect of growing cold hardy grapes. Most of it from @grapeman (Rich). He has not been around much the last couple of years dealing with some health issues etc but he has several amazing threads on things from starting a vineyard from the beginning to his SARE sponsored research on cold hardy grape trellis system (and which are best).




I have ordered 12 Marquette and 12 Marechal Foch vines to start. I’m in NE Wisconsin. zone 4b although a newer map upgrades me to 5a. A UW Extension grape publication recommend single or double wire.
 

ChuckD

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Thanks. I went through the vineyard from the beginning post but need to spend some more time there. I got the grape recommendations from other Wisconsin growers. These might not be the only vines. Just the first. I did not notice anything on recommended trellis systems for cold weather.
 

GSMChris

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I'm planning to go East West with my vines - in part to align with the rows in the neighboring vineyard - but mostly 1) shorten the rows making trellising easier and 2) to have a reasonably flat row for irrigation as the drop from one end to the other might be a problem from a pressure point of view if I went down the hill (e.g. North South)
 

VinesnBines

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I have mostly hybrids, several varieties including Marquette and Foch. I'm in zone 6a but late frosts and freezes have been my biggest problem (well until the racoons wiped out my first crop).

If you order 50 vines (mix and match) the price really drops.

I planted my first 1/4 acre at 9 feet between rows and 6 feet between the vines. My equipment operator (husband) complained and insisted on 10 feet between the rows. Since he hit a trellis post with the tractor in the 9 foot rows, I decided he is right. So my spacing is 10 feet between the rows and 6 feet between the vines.

I'm going with VSP, easier and netting will be easier. Netting is required.
 

franc1969

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Also these things are pretty pricey. Do most growers produce their own vines?
Many people do produce their own if price sensitive. I am trying a grafting project later to make my own vines, but I will be very small. It's more an issue of finding what i want when i want it, and since I am just doing a backyard , I can be slower. Same as my apples.
Do be careful of what you plant and grow yourself- some vines are patented or don't grow well own-rooted and it may be simpler to buy them. I've bought the few euro vines I wanted, will try rooting American or hybrid types.
Also, look through for different growers. I've found a few that were cheaper, they mostly cater to industry.
 

GSMChris

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I've also seen a tremendous range of prices (as much as 30%) from grower to grower. On top of that, some growers offer discounts for volume, others don't. I ended up building a spreadsheet!!!
 

ChuckD

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Ok I’m going to have to get to my
Laptop and do some research on trellising systems. I don’t even know what half of the system acronyms refer to. Let alone how they are laid out.
 

ChuckD

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Well, I stayed up way too late researching trellising systems and have determined that it's mind boggling :?. I saved a bunch of documents to review and bookmarked numerous sites. I found the Northern Grapes Project which seems to have a lot of good information. I gather from what I have read that I can plant my grapes this spring, but I don't have to put up the trellis until the following year... that's good because it may take me that long to figure out which system I should use!
 

VinesnBines

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HA! I did the same thing and ultimately decided to go with simple. You should be fine with waiting on the trellis for a year with a small number of vines. I learned the hard way to dig the trellis post holes when I dig the holes for the vines. (We auger in due to heavy clay and fairly steep slope - top soil washed to the bottom of the hill about 60 years ago so the grass stays.) My first 1/4 we just dug the vine holes and I had to set all trellis posts by hand. Now we dig all holes in a row and go back and set the trellis posts. I'm now stringing catch wires for the VSP.

A vineyard is a pleasure if you like growing things and working outside. If you don't like heat, cold, bugs, hard work and can't tolerate disappointment, wildlife damage and uncooperative weather, find another hobby/job.
 

Obbnw

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We did a similar addition and added a nice wide basement entrance. I really love the wide entrance. We also made it with 8' ceilings even though the existing basement is 7'. We step down going from old to new basement. The 8' ceilings are nice.

Does your place or the neighbors farm have a stone pile? If I had easy access to stones I'd stack them up and create 12' level surfaces and plant the vines closer to the rock wall which could offer some freeze protection and personally I like the looks of terraced rows.
 

ChuckD

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Do I have rocks! Ha!!!

5112C6FE-3AD4-4231-8DC6-4966E8D85BDD.jpeg

This was one of my spring projects. I partially disassembled one of my dry-laid retaining walls to add a planting bed. All of the rocks have come from stone piles on my property and I haven’t made a dent in them.

I never thought of the stone wall microclimate but it would be helpful. I planted hot peppers in this bed and they loved the extra heat. The land isn’t very steep however so I wouldn’t need much of a terrace… only a foot or so for each row.
 

Obbnw

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Do I have rocks! Ha!!!

View attachment 82285

This was one of my spring projects. I partially disassembled one of my dry-laid retaining walls to add a planting bed. All of the rocks have come from stone piles on my property and I haven’t made a dent in them.

I never thought of the stone wall microclimate but it would be helpful. I planted hot peppers in this bed and they loved the extra heat. The land isn’t very steep however so I wouldn’t need much of a terrace… only a foot or so for each row.

My wife grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, she talks about stone picking the fields - they have a giant stone pile, figured you probably had one too. Nice job on the wall. You could overbuild the wall a foot, maybe it would hold the snow and insulate the ground a bit. My yard is on about a 4.5% slope. I added a few 18" walls and leveled it out, really added to the "feel" of the yard. Gives sense of space and makes it a little more dynamic.
 

wood1954

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Whatever trellis system you use make sure it’s easy to trim during the summer. Marquette grows really wild. I’m in the process of making my wines use only the top wire. I used to pick my grapes at Mitchell vineyard in Oregon, Wi, they have clay soil and on some plants I could pick 25 pounds of grapes. Even that heavily cropped crop, my wine had good body. On my soil which is sand I could get that poundage on some plants, but the resulting wine is much thinner so I’m going to try controlling my crop to get better quality. Just mentioned that as it seems soil is very important, Rio Lobo winery in Weyauwega has clay soil and their wine has really good body also.
 

ChuckD

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My soil is pretty heavy. Folks around here call it clay but it’s not like that stuff in the fox valley that you can use to cast pottery😂. When wet it’s plenty greasy… and did I mention rocks? I have lots of rocks. I’m going to see if the farmer who rents my land has an auger for his tractor because digging a hole here is not for the faint hearted.
 

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