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MrFrench

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Greetings everyone!

Hi I'm new here - living in Sussex in the UK where I plan to grow some grape vines in my garden.
I wanted to document the coming years in a thread for posterity, advice, gentle critique, lessons learned - etc. This thread will effectively become my journal and maybe some inspiration or caution for others wanting to do the same...

Sussex is increasingly becoming a wine-making region in the south east of England, with more and more acres under vine each year. I have read somewhere that there are more acres under vine in the UK not yet producing than there are already producing. If that is true then it is quire remarkable as it would imply that domestic wine production could approximately double within just a few years. Who knows what this will do to prices, but it tells me that others have done the hard work and determined that our climate and terroir is suitable, especially in Sussex.

So, with a short history of beer brewing and a long history of enjoying wine, I would love to try and grow some grapes for micro scale domestic non-commercial hobbyist wine production. Besides, vines are beautiful so regardless of the crop they will be enjoyed.

This part of the world will struggle to ripen reds; most of the local vineyards grow the classic champagne varieties and some others like bacchus, ortega and pinot planc. Some cursory research and discussions with nursaries lead me to Solaris and Seyval Blanc which are hardy hybrids and more robust than pure viniferas. So that is what I will be planting in November or December this year.

In total I will plant around 20 vines with equal # of Seyval Blanc and Solaris.
My soils are clayey / loamy and I think around 50 - 100cm deep over sandstone bedrock. Currently awaiting quotes on soil analysis. Either way I'll map out the soil depths by driving rebar with a hammer until refusal and finalise vine spacing based on the results. Are there any good rules of thumb to observe?

My rows will be East-West oriented as that is what works in my plot.
To the north side of the northernmost row is a Leylandii hedge which I hope will interrupt any strong southerly winds. The hedge is quite established and about 10ft tall. Will this cause an issue with vine competition? I plan to offset my nearest row about 1.5m from the hedge.
The block of vines will receive about 7-8 hours of direct sun per day between about 10am and 6pm, based on tree and house shade patterns.

At the moment, I plan to plant 2 or 3 rows spaced 1.5m apart with vines spaced 1.2m apart. Training / trellising will be VSP but wire heights to be determined.

The area is presently covered with meadow grasses. Between now and planting out the vines I will remove the turf from the area, till / cultivate, roll and sow a mixture of red clover and tall fescue.

So many variables and decisions to make! At the moment, before I invest any significant money in this I am trying to determine if vines will succeed or fail.

Do any of you knowledgeable lot have any concerns / comments or words of warning based on the above? Many thanks in advance for your consideation :)
 
Greetings everyone!

Hi I'm new here - living in Sussex in the UK where I plan to grow some grape vines in my garden.
I wanted to document the coming years in a thread for posterity, advice, gentle critique, lessons learned - etc. This thread will effectively become my journal and maybe some inspiration or caution for others wanting to do the same...

Sussex is increasingly becoming a wine-making region in the south east of England, with more and more acres under vine each year. I have read somewhere that there are more acres under vine in the UK not yet producing than there are already producing. If that is true then it is quire remarkable as it would imply that domestic wine production could approximately double within just a few years. Who knows what this will do to prices, but it tells me that others have done the hard work and determined that our climate and terroir is suitable, especially in Sussex.

So, with a short history of beer brewing and a long history of enjoying wine, I would love to try and grow some grapes for micro scale domestic non-commercial hobbyist wine production. Besides, vines are beautiful so regardless of the crop they will be enjoyed.

This part of the world will struggle to ripen reds; most of the local vineyards grow the classic champagne varieties and some others like bacchus, ortega and pinot planc. Some cursory research and discussions with nursaries lead me to Solaris and Seyval Blanc which are hardy hybrids and more robust than pure viniferas. So that is what I will be planting in November or December this year.

In total I will plant around 20 vines with equal # of Seyval Blanc and Solaris.
My soils are clayey / loamy and I think around 50 - 100cm deep over sandstone bedrock. Currently awaiting quotes on soil analysis. Either way I'll map out the soil depths by driving rebar with a hammer until refusal and finalise vine spacing based on the results. Are there any good rules of thumb to observe?

My rows will be East-West oriented as that is what works in my plot.
To the north side of the northernmost row is a Leylandii hedge which I hope will interrupt any strong southerly winds. The hedge is quite established and about 10ft tall. Will this cause an issue with vine competition? I plan to offset my nearest row about 1.5m from the hedge.
The block of vines will receive about 7-8 hours of direct sun per day between about 10am and 6pm, based on tree and house shade patterns.

At the moment, I plan to plant 2 or 3 rows spaced 1.5m apart with vines spaced 1.2m apart. Training / trellising will be VSP but wire heights to be determined.

The area is presently covered with meadow grasses. Between now and planting out the vines I will remove the turf from the area, till / cultivate, roll and sow a mixture of red clover and tall fescue.

So many variables and decisions to make! At the moment, before I invest any significant money in this I am trying to determine if vines will succeed or fail.

Do any of you knowledgeable lot have any concerns / comments or words of warning based on the above? Many thanks in advance for your consideation :)
Go to Sedlescombe and taste their wines including Solaris, Regent and Rondo. You can do better than Seyval e.g. Siegerrebe and Ortega come to mind. Solaris should be good and better than Seyval which is really high in acid. They also grow Johanniter but it ripens later. I'd put my money on Solaris, Siegerrebe and Ortega if you want to grow white.
 
Greetings everyone!

Hi I'm new here - living in Sussex in the UK where I plan to grow some grape vines in my garden.
I wanted to document the coming years in a thread for posterity, advice, gentle critique, lessons learned - etc. This thread will effectively become my journal and maybe some inspiration or caution for others wanting to do the same...

Sussex is increasingly becoming a wine-making region in the south east of England, with more and more acres under vine each year. I have read somewhere that there are more acres under vine in the UK not yet producing than there are already producing. If that is true then it is quire remarkable as it would imply that domestic wine production could approximately double within just a few years. Who knows what this will do to prices, but it tells me that others have done the hard work and determined that our climate and terroir is suitable, especially in Sussex.

So, with a short history of beer brewing and a long history of enjoying wine, I would love to try and grow some grapes for micro scale domestic non-commercial hobbyist wine production. Besides, vines are beautiful so regardless of the crop they will be enjoyed.

This part of the world will struggle to ripen reds; most of the local vineyards grow the classic champagne varieties and some others like bacchus, ortega and pinot planc. Some cursory research and discussions with nursaries lead me to Solaris and Seyval Blanc which are hardy hybrids and more robust than pure viniferas. So that is what I will be planting in November or December this year.

In total I will plant around 20 vines with equal # of Seyval Blanc and Solaris.
My soils are clayey / loamy and I think around 50 - 100cm deep over sandstone bedrock. Currently awaiting quotes on soil analysis. Either way I'll map out the soil depths by driving rebar with a hammer until refusal and finalise vine spacing based on the results. Are there any good rules of thumb to observe?

My rows will be East-West oriented as that is what works in my plot.
To the north side of the northernmost row is a Leylandii hedge which I hope will interrupt any strong southerly winds. The hedge is quite established and about 10ft tall. Will this cause an issue with vine competition? I plan to offset my nearest row about 1.5m from the hedge.
The block of vines will receive about 7-8 hours of direct sun per day between about 10am and 6pm, based on tree and house shade patterns.

At the moment, I plan to plant 2 or 3 rows spaced 1.5m apart with vines spaced 1.2m apart. Training / trellising will be VSP but wire heights to be determined.

The area is presently covered with meadow grasses. Between now and planting out the vines I will remove the turf from the area, till / cultivate, roll and sow a mixture of red clover and tall fescue.

So many variables and decisions to make! At the moment, before I invest any significant money in this I am trying to determine if vines will succeed or fail.

Do any of you knowledgeable lot have any concerns / comments or words of warning based on the above? Many thanks in advance for your consideation :)
I have been a little surprised at how much variation I see in my small area.

Seems mostly due to variation in sun duration.

So if you know one variety will mature faster than the other you could plant them so that in fall the later ripening one is getting the most sun, or better afternoon sun.
 
In the end I have 7 seyval, 7 Solaris and 5 hardwood cuttings of Cabernet cortis. This leaves room for another row of Ortega if I have success with the hybrids.

The Solaris and Seyval came as rooted cuttings (own rootstock). They are currently in tall tree pots so I can move them inside if a frost comes. With any luck our last frost is behind us and I am looking to plant out the vines in the next couple of weeks. These vines are currently going through bud swell & break, the Solaris being a bit further ahead.

The cortis has budded but not rooted. I am not hopeful. These were kept planted in moist potted soil in my garage at 8-12C on a heat mat of 17C.

In the meantime I have cut turf to make 2 rows and lightly cultivated. In the process I discovered leather jackets. So I have ordered nematodes to treat leatherjackets and also nematodes for vine weevils just in case.

I am planning to treat the cultivated rows with the nematodes then top with compost and finally plant the vines by augering planting holes.

Does that all sound sensible, any remarks? Do I need to glyphosate the rows before planting the vines?

As my soil is clay, should I add some gypsum?
 
seyval, Solaris, Cabernet cortis. room for another row
With any luck our last frost is behind us and I am looking to plant out the vines in the next couple of weeks. These vines are currently going through bud swell & break,
Does that all sound sensible, any remarks? Do I need to glyphosate the rows before planting the vines?
* grapes are weeds once you get through the first year. They will grow in spite of soil modification with gypsum, but!! roots need uniform water on year one. Consider other pests as in my yard surviving rabbit damage.
* some folks (I tried) would go completely organic, I found that a weed eater does good weed control under the vines. I have grapes planted through landscape fabric with pea gravel holding it down.
* I have had plants grow and leaf out in pots inside, and the planted in early April only to see a frost which killed them. Be ready to cover them if there is frost.
* Your original post mentioned ripening. From a northern US perspective, Itasca, a white hybrid has high sugar, last year was 1.105. ,,, If you can get Seyval you might have access to other US hybrids.

Good luck
 
Thanks for your replies, I have now planted the vines out and watch the forecast incessantly!

Since the below picture was taken (added as tax) I have got the posts in for the trellising. Not much to see right now!

I do have some questions though if anyone would be so kind:

1) my vines have sunk generally about 2 inches into their planting holes. Once matured a bit can the soil be topped up to surface level or will this create disease risk? This might require removing shoots on some vines.

2) a great proportion of the new leaves on these rooted cuttings are emerging malformed, split or otherwise damaged in some way. Is this typical

3) some varieties’ - Cabernet cortis and Solaris in particular - new leaves are appearing with furry white web-like coating on the top and underside of the leaves. It appears to dissipate as the leaves mature. I can’t find any images of anything similar anywhere. Is this typical of new leaves? It almost looks like a mycelial network

4) when to thin to a certain number of shoots?

5) preventative spray regimen? I have copper fungicide and sulphur

6) several cuttings have a white dusty appearance on their trunk (old wood) with occasional oily looking dark patches. And occasional bright white bumps about 0.5 to 1mm across. Is this downy mildew? Cuttings had this pattern on delivery, I didn’t think much at the time but did the vendor potentially send diseased cuttings?


151680D6-C6B4-427C-B3E2-3DDCB9DD9C42.jpeg
 
1- leveling dirt will not harm grape, there are buds along the shoot that can turn into either root or leaf, when under ground those will form root.
2- malformed corresponds with viral infection, if it goes away it isn’t a virus, just the way it grows.
3- pubescence / hairy is normal on grape buds
4- thinning, this is me, I let everything grow on year one. My purpose is to grow roots. Spring two I start training to get a single trunk and then will remove growth other than that trunk. Here on winter 1 I may have rabbit damage down to the screen wire level.
5- I don’t spray on year one. Year three everything gets the same treatment
6- photo? Unknown pest
See univ Michigan Extension
IMG_2819.jpeg
 
1- leveling dirt will not harm grape, there are buds along the shoot that can turn into either root or leaf, when under ground those will form root.
2- malformed corresponds with viral infection, if it goes away it isn’t a virus, just the way it grows.
3- pubescence / hairy is normal on grape buds
4- thinning, this is me, I let everything grow on year one. My purpose is to grow roots. Spring two I start training to get a single trunk and then will remove growth other than that trunk. Here on winter 1 I may have rabbit damage down to the screen wire level.
5- I don’t spray on year one. Year three everything gets the same treatment
6- photo? Unknown pest
See univ Michigan Extension
View attachment 112428

Hi Rice_Guy thanks for your replies, I’ll follow your advice and let them grow this year without thinning, avoiding sprays.

Viral infection is a concern, would they need replacement?

I will follow with 2 posts of pictures for each varietal
 
The only point I’ll make on your plan is the glyphosate. I would not use it anywhere near vegetable gardens or grape vines. It’s supposed to break down over time, but the stuff is so deadly I would not risk it.
glyphosate: "t’s supposed to break down over time" Current studies state that it has a half-life of 25 years. Trees 100' way have been killed because their roots go that far. Better to use cardboard over weed fabric because the cardboard will breakdown in a year. by then, the vines are up and stable and use mulch.
 
Viral infection is a concern, would they need replacement?
I haven’t seen chlorotic leaves or deformed leaves which I would expect with viral infection. At this point I would be reticent to suggest removing and replacing.
The recommendation is remove and burn infected plants. With short time crops we are supposed to rotate where they grow to reduce risk of infection.
 

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