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The Dutchman

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Hi everybody,

I just bought my first house this spring in Northwest Arkansas.
And since starting making wine a year and a half ago I have been dreaming about growing some vines myself.

I have been reading the book From Vines to Wines to get the basic knowledge of growing vines, but I know I got a lot left to learn.

I have decided to grow the 2 types of grapes that have been developed by the University of Arkansas a couple of years ago.
Which are Opportunity and Enchantment I will grow 4 vines of each.
Does anybody have any experience with these?
I just send off my soil sample this week to get tested and got the utility companies coming out to mark the underground lines in my backyard.
I have a really big white oak tree in my backyard, which is beautiful but shades most of the yard.
So I got to figure out a way to make that work.

Here are 2 pictures of the possible locations I want to set up a row.


 

wxtrendsguy

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Not sure what time of day you took these but to me it looks a bit shady. Grapes like sunshine and a lot of it...full sun is best. The only helpful thing to do with the big white oak is to make barrels out of it and take the remaining wood and put in your fireplace to keep warm in the winter while you enjoy your future wine...
 

balatonwine

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Wine grows optimally in full sun. But wine is a vine. And it evolved with trees. Trees being the support structure "trellis" for the vines. I would plant your vines, let them grow and see what they can do with the in situ conditions. Then decide what to do with the tree. Such as some selective trimming, where and as needed.

Your grapes probably will not reach "optimal" numbers at harvest in shade, but you may still have have a nice wine that you can say came from "Shady Oaks Vineyards". Not everything needs to be perfect. Eccentricity, and unique local character also has value. And it would be a shame to cut out such a centuries old tree, which will also give you benefits such as shade on hot summer afternoons, just so a few wine vines can have a bit more sun.
 

The Dutchman

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Wine grows optimally in full sun. But wine is a vine. And it evolved with trees. Trees being the support structure "trellis" for the vines. I would plant your vines, let them grow and see what they can do with the in situ conditions. Then decide what to do with the tree. Such as some selective trimming, where and as needed.

Your grapes probably will not reach "optimal" numbers at harvest in shade, but you may still have have a nice wine that you can say came from "Shady Oaks Vineyards". Not everything needs to be perfect. Eccentricity, and unique local character also has value. And it would be a shame to cut out such a centuries old tree, which will also give you benefits such as shade on hot summer afternoons, just so a few wine vines can have a bit more sun.
Right thanks for your reply, I definitely wasn't planning on cutting down the tree.
But I will trim it a bit this winter. Also, the pictures were taken late afternoon around 5 pm.
So the area in the first picture gets a lot of sun in the morning till early afternoon, about 6 to 8 hours a day.
which will be the area I will set up a row, the fence runs from north to south I guess that is a good direction right?
 

Stressbaby

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So I'm guessing pic #1 faces east and pic #2 faces north, is that correct?

If so, I like pic #1 better, no shade at all from the neighbor's side. North/south is fine for row direction although getting the grapes in the sun would be my primary aim.
 

Keith1940

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I have a spot where I grew Waltham butternut squash last season, banana peppers and one bell pepper this season. They get sun from 11:30-15:00, the butternuts went nuts, at least 60 of them. The bananas are doing fine, the Bell is finally producing. Beds with a few more hours of sun are doing better, especially the bells. Back to butternuts next season.

I think you should be pleasantly surprised with your grapes performance. I have had good results in other areas with less than the daily recommend amount of sun.
 

CK55

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I have a spot where I grew Waltham butternut squash last season, banana peppers and one bell pepper this season. They get sun from 11:30-15:00, the butternuts went nuts, at least 60 of them. The bananas are doing fine, the Bell is finally producing. Beds with a few more hours of sun are doing better, especially the bells. Back to butternuts next season.

I think you should be pleasantly surprised with your grapes performance. I have had good results in other areas with less than the daily recommend amount of sun.
Yeah, my grapes are literally on a hill at like 354 ft above sea level. So yeah, im maritime as hell, full sun 63-85F temp range, cool nights, fog etc.
 

CTDrew

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As touched on in other replies, your goal is to maximize the amount sun they get and that would be my chief concern. The sunnier the spot the easier it will be to ripen the clusters and the better the potential for good wine to result. Keep us posted on what you decide to do.
 

The Dutchman

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So today I received my results from the soil test.
I am no expert in reading it but it does seem to be a good soil for grapes.
Anybody have any advice on possible adjustments to make?

 

CK55

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So today I received my results from the soil test.
I am no expert in reading it but it does seem to be a good soil for grapes.
Anybody have any advice on possible adjustments to make?

Hey dutchy, I would love to see you plant a couple say 4 Cabernet Franc vines as a test. I would even supply them. They are cold and hot tolerant so should be very hard to kill.
 

The Dutchman

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Hey dutchy, I would love to see you plant a couple say 4 Cabernet Franc vines as a test. I would even supply them. They are cold and hot tolerant so should be very hard to kill.
That might be very interesting to see how they do here. Would they need a VSP trellis? Or can I just grow them on a high cordon wire? I will measure this afternoon if 4 more vines would fit with the 8 I ordered already.
 

CK55

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That might be very interesting to see how they do here. Would they need a VSP trellis? Or can I just grow them on a high cordon wire? I will measure this afternoon if 4 more vines would fit with the 8 I ordered already.
Vinifera is very favorable to upright growth, so any trellis that supports it would work but I am using VSP.
 

The Dutchman

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Vinifera is very favorable to upright growth, so any trellis that supports it would work but I am using VSP.
So I looked at it the other day and I should be able to add 4 more vines. And your suggestion of trying some vinifera made me want to do it. It was actually the type I wanted to grow in the first place. But after reading how hard it is in some areas, I decided to pick something suitable for my zone.
you were suggesting cab franc? What all are you growing? And where are you located?
 

CK55

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So I looked at it the other day and I should be able to add 4 more vines. And your suggestion of trying some vinifera made me want to do it. It was actually the type I wanted to grow in the first place. But after reading how hard it is in some areas, I decided to pick something suitable for my zone.
you were suggesting cab franc? What all are you growing? And where are you located?
I am in california but have done extensive research on all french wine grapes, Its sort of been my research project so im very much aware of the different clones and what grows well where, and Cab Franc is a good grape because its hard to kill and does well in pretty much any climate, a winery about 45 minutes from me where it can hit up to 114 has some cabernet franc and it makes a great wine, it also makes a great wine where i live which seldom gets over 82. It is tolerant to high temperatures and tolerant of freezing winters. Thats mostly been why its my recommendation.

I have some of the following grapes,

Cabernet Franc
Malbec
Alicante Bouschet
Barbera
Nebbiolo
Carmenere
Merlot
Picardan
Picpoul Blanc
Fiano

All are growing well and ive planted a total of 6 different root stocks.

The rootstock that would be good for your cabernet franc would be 101-14 which prefers clay soils and would give you good yields. It would likely grow very well where you are.
 

CK55

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So I looked at it the other day and I should be able to add 4 more vines. And your suggestion of trying some vinifera made me want to do it. It was actually the type I wanted to grow in the first place. But after reading how hard it is in some areas, I decided to pick something suitable for my zone.
you were suggesting cab franc? What all are you growing? And where are you located?
I actually looked up your state and the growing regions and everything, and even called a few wineries in the area and spoke to them. :) Should be good to go.
 

The Dutchman

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So a little update from me,

I got the soil prepped for the spring.
haven't put up any trellis yet, which I probably won't do till next fall.
Ordered my vines decided to go with 4 Enchantment 4 Opportunity which I know both will work in my area, and as a test I also ordered 2 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2 Syrah vines.
I am really looking forward to it!

Today I got my last batch of wine for this year started, a Noble Muscadine Pomace using the pressed grapes from my dry Noble Muscadine.
Which brings the total wine made for this year to 22 gallons split over 6 different types of wines, not too bad for the second year of winemaking.
 

Cynewulf

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So a little update from me,

I got the soil prepped for the spring.
haven't put up any trellis yet, which I probably won't do till next fall.
Ordered my vines decided to go with 4 Enchantment 4 Opportunity which I know both will work in my area, and as a test I also ordered 2 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2 Syrah vines.
I am really looking forward to it!

Today I got my last batch of wine for this year started, a Noble Muscadine Pomace using the pressed grapes from my dry Noble Muscadine.
Which brings the total wine made for this year to 22 gallons split over 6 different types of wines, not too bad for the second year of winemaking.
I’m keen to hear about how your experience with Enchantment goes. I’m in Virginia and just planted 13 of them 2 weeks ago. They’re part of the replacement for half of my Cabernet Franc vines that have struggled with disease pressure for the past 2 years. I’m finally getting my spray protocol dialed in a bit better but am hoping that planting a few hybrids will make things a little easier as well.
 

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