Help with small vineyard planning

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ChuckD

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Deer ✔
Turkey’s ✔
racoons ✔
Bear ✔
Fox ✔ (really, even fox?)

I’m doomed! Glad I’m only planning for about 100 vines.

How do you keep raccoons out. No fence is going to work. I see what they do to sweet corn around here. It isn’t pretty.
 

VinesnBines

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Raccoons? I’m trying to figure it out. They got my first harvest this year. I didn’t use netting because I stupidly thought I might not need it.
Netting first then noise making, for birds and other critters. Probably a radio or two on a talk station. Have to move them around. Motion lights maybe. Guns and traps; coyote urine, coyotes?
 

ChuckD

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I think they would figure out lights and noise within a day or two. I do have some raccoon cuffs to trap them when they start bothering the chickens. I guess I’ll deploy them around the vineyard too. Small doses of lead work well but difficult to deliver when they are hitting crops in the middle of the night.
 

VinesnBines

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Racoons won't be a problem until you have grapes that just start to ripen. They don't bother the vines. You will do well though to thin out the ranks as best you can.

Yes, the noise and lights need to move about. I'm hoping netting will help the most.
 

ChuckD

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I'm expanding by 250 to 300 vines a year so I keep reusing the tubes.
With that many vines I assume you have a winery? Could I ask why you prefer the VSP system? It seems, to my inexperienced self, like a lot more work than the top wire cordon. I have also read some studies where TWC outperformes VSP. I don’t plan on having enough vines to make the extra work a big issue but at scale it seems like a bigger deal.
 

VinesnBines

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No winery yet. I only planted 240 vines the first year (2019) and those vines had a small crop this past year that was harvested by the racoons. If I ever get a decent crop, we'll see whether I sell grapes or start a small winery. One and a half acres is not a large vineyard so I'm aiming for at least 3 or 4 acres. Once I get the vines producing, I can't expect much more than two tons an acre. A ton of grapes will yields about two barrels or 120 gallons so 3 acres would only yield 300 to 400 cases. Even the smallest wineries produce about 800 to 1000 cases a year. We are still learning and trying to get established. I do love every minute spent in the vineyard (save the discovery of the racoon harvest and the Great Mother's Day freeze).

I considered TWC but I have different varieties throughout the vineyard, some will do better on TWC and others on VSP. I'm going with VSP for ease of netting, spraying with a tractor mounted sprayer and ease of harvest. I'm not keen on reaching overhead to harvest. I'm trying to plan netting and have decided that fruit zone netting will be the best. Overhead netting will be a problem with mowing; my husband does the mowing and he will get tangled in the netting (I've spent many hours under mowers unwinding wire, string, hoses...).

I don't think tucking vines will be tremendously labor intensive. I'm walking along the rows constantly and assessing the vines, checking for disease, bugs, damage, pulling leaves, cluster thinning, spraying weeds, tying vines, so tucking vines is just another action. I can always change to TWC or mid wire if I chose. Just run a cane to the higher wire.

One other (sort of secret) reason for VSP is what the public expects a vineyard to look like. A huge business for wineries and vineyards is as a wedding venue. That is why I'm using wooden trellis posts. Metal posts would be so much easier to install and would last longer but don't look pretty in a picture.
 
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ChuckD

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Thanks for the detailed answers. I’ll have to do a little more research on trellis systems. I’m trying to picture how the netting would differ on TWC vs VSP. I assumed you would have to go over the top of everything no matter what.

The area I’m converting to vineyard is only about 0.4 acres and some of that will be berries. I’m getting fired up. All of this vineyard and garden planning is good “winter work”!

Chuck
 

Joe B.

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I didn't install a deer fence until my third year and the first 2 years I tried every thing. ( 3 dogs, motion lights, spray on deer deterrent etc.) You can't train a vine that is getting eaten. I went with deer fencing with a top wire. I think I'm at 7+ foot in height, why for the effort and expense go any lower? Those first 2 years sucked after the fence all I had to deal with were gophers, raccoons, birds and fungicidal sprays. Like you I didn't plan on a deer fence but it was worth every penny.
 

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I plan on using solar powered electric fencing around my vineyard. A wire @ 5' will deter deer, and a wire @ 12" to 18" would deter raccoons and foxes. Works great for keeping my 2000 pound percheron in his pasture.
 

ChuckD

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I plan on using solar powered electric fencing around my vineyard. A wire @ 5' will deter deer, and a wire @ 12" to 18" would deter raccoons and foxes. Works great for keeping my 2000 pound percheron in his pasture.
I have not seen the 5-foot wire thing for deer. I regularly see deer in my neighbors pasture that has a hi-tensile electric fence (three-wire fence. probably 40” high) When I see them run they don’t typically jump over the fence. They shoot right between wires. Up here it seems to be 8- foot fencing. Goat panel on the bottom and high tensile wires about a foot apart to the top.
 
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ChuckD

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And yeah. I hadn’t thought about electrifying the fence. A low wire should deter raccoons fairly well. But wild animals are not livestock. I have been on farms standing face-to-face with an enraged bull with a single electric wire between us! 😬 It was terrifying, but the bull respected that fence. The farmer just paused and said “he doesn’t seem to like you too much” and smiled.
 

Benjie

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I have not seen the 5-foot wire thing for deer.

I say about 5 feet because that's about where a wire would touch a deer on his throat. 48" would probably work better though. Wild or domestic, 8000 volts will send any animal to the moon.
 

ChuckD

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I have not seen the 5-foot wire thing for deer.

I say about 5 feet because that's about where a wire would touch a deer on his throat. 48" would probably work better though. Wild or domestic, 8000 volts will send any animal to the moon.
The problem is deer can jump really high. From standing they can hop over a 6-foot high fence with no problem. And they seem to sense the electricity. If they really want to get in you’ll need eight feet.
 

VinesnBines

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The problem is deer can jump really high. From standing they can hop over a 6-foot high fence with no problem. And they seem to sense the electricity. If they really want to get in you’ll need eight feet.
I have been reading about the 3D electric fence. This is a good explanation of the principle. How to Protect your Food Plots with an Electric Fence

I haven't tried it because of conflicting reports of effectiveness. This is another resource that explains deer deterrent. Fencing to Exclude Deer

Has anyone tried the 3d electric? All I know to keep deer out is a 12 foot wire fence with electric wire on top.
 

ChuckD

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I have been reading about the 3D electric fence. This is a good explanation of the principle. How to Protect your Food Plots with an Electric Fence

I haven't tried it because of conflicting reports of effectiveness. This is another resource that explains deer deterrent. Fencing to Exclude Deer

Has anyone tried the 3d electric? All I know to keep deer out is a 12 foot wire fence with electric wire on top.
I have never heard of the 3-D fencing. It’s interesting and looks a lot cheaper than the high fence.

I’ll definitely check into it a little more. I might have to talk to the local wildlife control guy.
 

VinesnBines

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I think the 3d might work well for a small area. It looks like you need to take it down in the "off seasons" and change it up so the deer think it is new.
 

ChuckD

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Well for now I’ll plan on grow tubes the first year. We will see where it goes from there. I’m now up to room for about 140 vines with room for berries and several more apple trees. For years I’ve been planning on building a pavilion with outdoor fireplace and pizza oven in the backyard. That’s the yellow rectangle. It means I would have to move my garden beds too. The dashed line is 600 feet of fence I would need to enclose the vineyard, garden, orchard, and back yard.image.jpg
 

VinesnBines

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You are off to a good start. You have a lot of advice but you need to figure it out for your site. See how it goes. Learning by doing is the best education. I have taken viticulture courses of all stages but nothing beats standing in the vineyard, starting at a vine (or 200, 400, 1000) and trying to envision how this vine should be pruned.

If your soil is heavy, do plan on an auger for planting. We have a steep slope and both red and yellow clay. If we use a plow, the danger is erosion (severe washing off) of the top soil (happened in the past - the reason my garden has 2 feet of top soil). If I was digging by hand, I would still be planting the first 1/4 acre.

Many things to consider and you WILL do something you regret. Just go with the flow and enjoy the process.
 
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