How many vines to purchase?

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justinb

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I'd like to start growing grapes this spring, and have read a few books on it. I have also spent hours on this site. Im having a hard time deciding how many plants to grow. Im going with Marquette and a yet to be determined white variety.
I live in N. Illinois, and am hoping for 12-18 gallons of red, and 12 gallons of white. Any thoughts on how many I should order?
 

TonyR

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Is a hard question to answer. Different soils, vigor, training styles. My Petite Pearl are not vigorous and have small tightly packed grapes and I average 1/2 gal of finished wine per vine.
 

salcoco

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it take 12-15 lbs of grape for one gallon of finished wine. a light crop of 8 lbs per vine is not uncommon. you could get up to 12 lbs per vine. do you know the average yield in your area from local wineries? I personally would figure on 1/2 gallon per vine. If you get more proper pruning and cluster thinning would reduce yield but improve quality.
 

grapeman

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If you buy vines from Double A Vineyard there is a huge price break when you get to 50 vines. 25 each of two varieties will be more than enough for your wine and you will get them cheaper. You should have a pretty easy time getting enough grapes from them to make your wine. They are also helpful in vine variety selection.
 

justinb

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Thanks everyone. Double A vineyards is who Im planning on buying from. Im going to try the new Itasca grape for my white variety.
 

grapeman

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Hopefully they have that one in stock this late in the year. With it being new it takes a while to catch up with demand.
 

geek

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If you buy vines from Double A Vineyard there is a huge price break when you get to 50 vines. 25 each of two varieties will be more than enough for your wine and you will get them cheaper. You should have a pretty easy time getting enough grapes from them to make your wine. They are also helpful in vine variety selection.

What's the price?
 

grapeman

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That depends on what you buy and how many. The more you buy, the cheaper the price. Just go to their website and check it out. I am not pushing them over others, I just have experience with them.
 

Fulmor

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Grafted Grape Vines is another outfit in NY that provides good stock, although their order process is a little "old school".
 

onlyreds

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You haven't mentioned the acreage, the orientation of the site on the compass, the terrain, the soil type or composition or your budget. Remember too that you're not likely to get a harvestable crop until at least the 3rd season. If you're in Northern Illinois reach out to Al Sommer in Bristol. He manages a small vineyard superbly and can offer some pointers. Join the Illinois Grape Growers Association for news on seminars and for access to a large community of experienced folks. Good luck.
 

mgmarty

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How many vines

AND, to continue with what onlyreds said: after three years of no grapes, now you will have two vines that won't produce well so you replace them. Then there's that year the nets get put up a little late and the birds eat half. And if you don't get a good spray program, forget it. Guess what I'm saying is, do this for fun, shoot for a goal, cause buying wine by the case is cheaper.
 

justinb

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A lot of good pointers to consider. My ground is awful...i had a 1 acre pond dug, and used that dirt to create a berm. This is where Im planning on planting the grapes. Its a mix of light clay and small stones. I cant imagine grapes will grow well in this soil. My plan is to bring in topsoil, and plant the vines on raised beds.
 

grapeman

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Grape vines are a deep rooted plant. A very fertile soil is not good. It is better to have a moderately fertile soil with great drainage. Work on the drainage not the topsoil.
 

salcoco

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I would have a soil test done on our berm soil to determine what fertilizer or amendment you need for growth. Very fertile soil will cause excessive growth, but some soil fertilization is required for the grapes to grow correctly.
 

farmer

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I have ordered 25 Itasca vines from Winterhaven Nursery in Mn . This is the first year this grape is available from the Uof M . It is a very vigorous vine and recommended planting at eight feet spacing, very cold hardy and disease resistant. Only potted plants are available this year. I missed the roll out of this grape at the U of M research farm they had tastings of wine from this grape.
 

justinb

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Grape vines are a deep rooted plant. A very fertile soil is not good. It is better to have a moderately fertile soil with great drainage. Work on the drainage not the topsoil.
Good point. I can see where the topsoil might not matter much if grapes have a deep root system. I have a different location with better drainage and soils, but its next to forest land. Im worried that the deer will destroy the plants in winter and late spring. I installed a deer fence around my garden and small orchard. I cant justify the cost of another deer fence. Anyone have issues with deer?
 

grapeman

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A couple points for you. If you plant the vines where the soil is better drained and more fertile, the vines will be more robust. If the soil is wet, the vines will be more stunted and sort of 'runty'. If they are stunted, and the deer feed on them they will grow even slower. My point here is that I would rather deal with deer than poorly drained soil. The stronger vines will handle the deer better than the weak ones.
 

NorCal

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Anyone have issues with deer?

@4Score and I cared for an abandoned vineyard last year, maybe 200 vines. Heavy pruning, but the crop came in pretty darn good. The deer wiped it out in no time, total loss. They knew right when verasion was done! In my area, I wouldn't invest the time without a deer deterrent.
 
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