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Flack1210

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My wife and I moved into a home with about 40 established grape vines. I know they need to be pruned over the winter however, everything we have read has been more confusing that helpful. Where should I turn to help me determine what to prune? Thanks in advance!
 

ibglowin

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Do you know what kind of grapes they are? Where are you located? A bit more info would help out here.
 

salcoco

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google on line I believe there are good You tube video on pruning. also I believe Winemaker magazine has pamphlet on backyard vineyard that includes pruning as well as other needs for a backyard vineyard.
 

Flack1210

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Do you know what kind of grapes they are? Where are you located? A bit more info would help out here.
I'm located in northern Illinois about 5 miles from the Wisconsin border. I have no idea what types of grapes they are. A lot of what I read was specific on different pruning techniques for different varieties of grapes. Is there a specific technique that will be successful for all varieties? I would hate to do something without being properly informed. It is obvious the previous owners put a lot of work into them.
 

ibglowin

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So your are saying you have now way of contacting them? Have you spoken to the neighbors to see if they knew anything? Chances are they are cold hardy hybrids if they are wine grapes but they could be table grapes also. What type of trellis are they on? Are they even on a trellis?
 

Flack1210

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So your are saying you have now way of contacting them? Have you spoken to the neighbors to see if they knew anything? Chances are they are cold hardy hybrids if they are wine grapes but they could be table grapes also. What type of trellis are they on? Are they even on a trellis?
They offered a press and a bunch of carboys alone with a two large tanks with the house, so I'm certain at least most of them are wine grapes. We moved in September first and all of the fruit had already dried so I was unable to identify them that way. I tried to contact them but I got no response. The are between two posts with rows varying between 20 ft and 40 ft. Between the poles are two guide wires with tensioners on them. The grapes appear to be well trained. I will try to contact them again and see if that yields any results.
 

ibglowin

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Cold hardy grapes usually do best on a TWC or Top Wire Cordon trellis system. So only a single wire per row at about 5" off the ground. That doesn't sound like what you have. Take a look at this article.

https://winemakermag.com/article/1388-backyard-vineyard-trellis-and-training

Look over the different trellis systems and you should be able to identify your trellis system at some point. There are some links to videos on the different trellis systems and pruning. This should give you a start at least. Pruning vines is sort of like giving them a haircut. You don't want to do it too early or they will wakeup and think they need to start growing at the first sign of warm weather only to get bit by a late frost. Find out when your last usual annual frost is and prune about a month before that is usually a pretty safe option. If you can post some pics using the upload a file feature that could also help identify things.
 
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KevinL

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I'm just south and east of you in the western suburbs. Pictures would be helpful if you have them. We might be able to ascertain what kind of system they were using before. You can replicate it this season, and then adjust it as you identify the vines.
 

buzi

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Agreed with KevinL. pix please. Replication would be the say to go this year. It is about odd that they were shriveled by Sept 1st unless the previous owners let then go and it is dry-rot. Concord would be picked late September or early October whites a few weeks earlier, but they shouldnt have been shriveled...
 

Flack1210

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by the time I got around to looking at them they were shriveled. With the move it wasn't till late September that the thought even crossed my mind to investigate. There was one set that had small amounts of white grapes that were similar in appearance to concord grapes. I am certain none of them.were of that variety as this is the only type I have any experience with.
 

Flack1210

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Let me know if there is specific stuff I need to take picture's of. Thank you all again for your help!
 

CabEnthusiast

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Those are really nice looking grapevines, whoever planted them did a great job setting up the trellis, and I would lean towards hybrids or possibly Cabernet since it is known to be quite cold hardy.
 

KevinL

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I'm a newbie, but I'll have a go at this.

Looks like you have some vines that are growing on some form of Geneva double Curtain. I see a few rows with cordons that are low and canes that grow upwards (looking like some kind of VSP) and ones with cordons that are high.

If I had to guess since you're in Northern Illinois and they're wine grapes you're looking at Hybrids. I'm going to guess Marechal Foch, just because it's my understanding that it was pretty widely planted. If it is a white concord looking grape, its probably Niagara.

If it were me I would go with spur pruning. Blue is your trunk and cordons, and black is your 1 year canes coming off of your existing spurs. You're going to prune those back to 1-2 buds depending on how many buds you want on the plant total. Typically the number of buds on the plant is a function of pruning weight. The more you're taking off, the more buds you will leave on the plant total.

Blue is your cordon, Black is your 1 year old canes.

upload_2019-2-22_23-18-21.png

Other forum folks can correct me if I'm wrong here (free advice on the internet, you get what you pay for.) These look like well taken care of vines, so you're fine leaving a good number of buds on the plant.

When you're done, if viewed from the side it should look like a T. Assuming this is some variant of GDC:




1 year old canes that are growing low from the trunks or cordons should be removed entirely. Don't be timid. When you're done it's going to look like you gave these vines a buzz cut rather than a trip with an inch or two off the top.

This past winter was pretty rough for us. There is a good chance that you've got a bit of cold damage. If things don't leaf out the way you expect after your pruning, don't think that you harmed the plants. It's most likely they were already damaged from the winter. You can check the buds by nipping one off on an area you plan to prune with a fingernail or something. if it's still green and firm, then it's fine. As your pruning I'm sure you'll find some bits that are dead as well.

I'm sure there is plenty I'm missing on this, but this can help get you started.
 

CabEnthusiast

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I'm a newbie, but I'll have a go at this.

Looks like you have some vines that are growing on some form of Geneva double Curtain. I see a few rows with cordons that are low and canes that grow upwards (looking like some kind of VSP) and ones with cordons that are high.

If I had to guess since you're in Northern Illinois and they're wine grapes you're looking at Hybrids. I'm going to guess Marechal Foch, just because it's my understanding that it was pretty widely planted. If it is a white concord looking grape, its probably Niagara.

If it were me I would go with spur pruning. Blue is your trunk and cordons, and black is your 1 year canes coming off of your existing spurs. You're going to prune those back to 1-2 buds depending on how many buds you want on the plant total. Typically the number of buds on the plant is a function of pruning weight. The more you're taking off, the more buds you will leave on the plant total.

Blue is your cordon, Black is your 1 year old canes.

View attachment 53512

Other forum folks can correct me if I'm wrong here (free advice on the internet, you get what you pay for.) These look like well taken care of vines, so you're fine leaving a good number of buds on the plant.

When you're done, if viewed from the side it should look like a T. Assuming this is some variant of GDC:




1 year old canes that are growing low from the trunks or cordons should be removed entirely. Don't be timid. When you're done it's going to look like you gave these vines a buzz cut rather than a trip with an inch or two off the top.

This past winter was pretty rough for us. There is a good chance that you've got a bit of cold damage. If things don't leaf out the way you expect after your pruning, don't think that you harmed the plants. It's most likely they were already damaged from the winter. You can check the buds by nipping one off on an area you plan to prune with a fingernail or something. if it's still green and firm, then it's fine. As your pruning I'm sure you'll find some bits that are dead as well.

I'm sure there is plenty I'm missing on this, but this can help get you started.
I was going to say yeah that does look like it matches, But really the only way to know the vines is to get them DNA tested.
 

Masbustelo

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Well done KevinL. In Northern Illinois, they are definitely not Cabernet. Could be some Marquette as a possibility. But no way to tell if they produce red or white grapes.
 

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