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mmurphy1030

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My husband and I are in the process of designing our sustainable farm on 20 acres of our 117 acres. The plan calls for two vineyards, among other plantings. (We have plans for a trout pond, multiple vegetable plots, one or more large berry patches, a fruit and nut orchard, pollinator gardens, and gourmet and medicinal herb gardens.) We want to grow table and wine grapes mostly for our personal consumption, but also for a local food bank and for sale at local farmers markets and to two local wineries. We have a small wine cellar in the lower level of our house and are constructing various outbuildings, one of which might be suitable for harvesting, processing, and making the wine. I have acquired a small library on the topic of vine growing and wine making, but felt I might learn more relevant information from local winemakers who share their experiences in these forums. Cold New Hampshire winters are a challenge, but we are researching technologies to make greenhouses simulate more hospitable climates (zones 6 - 7) in an energy efficient and self-sustained manner.
 

VinesnBines

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Welcome and good luck! What is your horticulture/farming background? Do you have day jobs? Children? Pets?
 

Rice_Guy

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Welcome to Wine Making Talk.

There are lots of legal hoops to jump through if you produce over 200 gallons or if you sell no matter what volume. As a start contact your zoning to see what they require and talk to a wine or cider producer about your state regulations. There are a few threads on WMT about the hoops to jump through.

Being a grower requires several areas of expertise. Lots of wineries save effort and money and let someone else be the expert on the juice.
 

Fox Squirrel Vin

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My husband and I are in the process of designing our sustainable farm on 20 acres of our 117 acres. The plan calls for two vineyards, among other plantings. (We have plans for a trout pond, multiple vegetable plots, one or more large berry patches, a fruit and nut orchard, pollinator gardens, and gourmet and medicinal herb gardens.) We want to grow table and wine grapes mostly for our personal consumption, but also for a local food bank and for sale at local farmers markets and to two local wineries. We have a small wine cellar in the lower level of our house and are constructing various outbuildings, one of which might be suitable for harvesting, processing, and making the wine. I have acquired a small library on the topic of vine growing and wine making, but felt I might learn more relevant information from local winemakers who share their experiences in these forums. Cold New Hampshire winters are a challenge, but we are researching technologies to make greenhouses simulate more hospitable climates (zones 6 - 7) in an energy efficient and self-sustained manner.

Welcome!

I do basically what you are planning to do, only on a LOT less than 20 acres. 20 acres of mixed farming will not be easily manageable for 2 people especially if you still have a day job. In fact it will be impossible. Single to just a couple crops are what makes farms efficient, when you deviate from that the demands on your time to care for the individual needs of a single crop x how many other crops you have explodes exponentially. Hopefully you both are still under 45 because if not, that farm will be making you feel your age in 3, 2, 1... It does me.

What I do is. I focus on maybe a half a dozen crops and produce as much of those as I can, but I'm lucky, I get two crop cycles in a year where you only get one. Two seasons doubles my variety for the year. It still kicks my backside and now I'm planning to switch to wine grapes exclusively other than a "garden" for household use now that there are 5 new varieties of wine grapes I can choose from that actually make good Vinifera wine that will survive the wine grape killing diseases endemic to my area.

The first thing I need to know to recommend what wine grapes you can actually grow is what is your average growing season temperature is, because that average growing season temperature determines what grapes you can grow, and I need to know how long your growing season is it because that determines the grapes you can choose from that can actually RIPEN and that's the biggest thing many of those growing books leave out. Wine grape ripening is more of a function of their PH and Brix and degree of veraison than what is required for table grapes to be considered "ripe." Table grapes are ripe when they taste good. That doesn't work for wine grapes.

Knowing what your average growing season temp is and how long it is is more important than the growing zone because there can be drastic differences between average growing season temperatures and growing season length in different hardiness zones. The length of your growing season is best estimated as the time you have between days with an average of 55 degrees and nights above 40. Some use from last spring frost to first autumn frost but this really isn't that good of a measurement to use as many plants will not have significant vegetative growth below a minimum sustained temp of 50-60 degrees. A plant like Brussels sprouts will survive temps in the 40's but it will barely grow in it, it will simply just sit there doing nothing until the weather warms up during the day.

Then I need to know what your lowest night time temp is because that also has a affect on what vines you can grow because vines like Cabernet Sauvignon die below -5. That is basically your hardiness zone.

You probably will not want to try to grow wine grapes in a greenhouse, the demands and cost are prohibitive.
 
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FlamingoEmporium

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Then I need to know what your lowest night time temp is because that also has a affect on what vines you can grow because vines like Cabernet Sauvignon die below -5. That is basically your hardiness zone.

You probably will not want to try to grow wine grapes in a greenhouse, the demands and cost are prohibitive.
i think the growing season in New Hampshire is August 1st - 3rd. 🙄
 

VinesnBines

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20 acres of mixed farming will not be easily manageable for 2 people especially if you still have a day job. In fact it will be impossible.
I was trying to be tactful with my questions; but that is my sentiment. I have a day job and we have pets; managing even a small vineyard with any obligations is challenging.

It isn't feasible to try to grow grapes in a greenhouse. There are numerous cool climate grapes that will thrive in New England. This is a good source for cool climate grapes: Grapes of the Hudson Valley And Other Cool Climate Regions of the United States and Canada: J. Stephen Casscles, Foreword by Kevin Zraly, Preface by Eric Miller: 9780982520833: Amazon.com: Books. Steve is writing a book specifically on New England heritage grapes. I would suggest you contact him for advice. You can contact him through Facebook or through Milea Estate Vineyards.
 

TurkeyHollow

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There are commercial vineyards in New Hampshire that survive the winters just fine. I live a few miles from one that's on 100 plus acres.
I'm up in NH as often as I can go. There are many successful vineyards/wineries (I'm sure you've been to Flag Hill in Lee). There's nothing that says you can't supplement your crop with grapes and juices from other climates. I wish you the best of luck @mmurphy1030. We'll probably see you for a tasting as you start to dial it all in!
 

Fox Squirrel Vin

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There are commercial vineyards in New Hampshire that survive the winters just fine. I live a few miles from one that's on 100 plus acres.
Indeed, but I would imagine they are growing grapes that are very cold hardy and like cooler weather compared to things like cab sav or Zin that bottom out at zone 7. Concords would be popular there... That is a grape I wish I could grow in Florida, just a couple or three for juicing and jelly making but the single vine I tried laughed in my face before it did the July burn and croak as I knew it would but had to give it a try anyway. A friend in Arkansas sent me some that are concord like that do well in the south but my CRS syndrome is keeping me from remembering the name.. They are covered in flowers ATM and survived last year without a hiccup so I might get lucky.
 

Troy Garner

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I am the Facilities and Vineyard Manager for LaBelle Winery in NH. In our vineyards we grow, Petite Pearl, Itasca, Cayuga, Noiret, Petite Amie, Seyval and a little bit of Brianna. In my personal vineyard I grow Petite Pearl and Marquette. All cold tolerant varietals. We ship in warmer climate varietals in the fall.
 

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