There are as many reasons for wanting to grow grapes as there are varieties of grapes. Universally loved for their flavor, aroma and potential uses, grapes are grown the world over, by large companies and backyard enthusiasts alike.
The Perfect Fruit
A walk down the wine aisle in any supermarket will reveal wines made from a variety of fruits. However, the majority of the choices are produced with wine. Part of this stems from the fact that grapes seem to be the ideal fruit for wine-making. All of the properties needed are found right there, in that beautiful bunch of grapes. The naturally high amounts of sugar, perfect for fermentation, along with strong, recognizable flavors and colors are present. Grapes are a wonderful source rich in carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and no cholesterol, making them very nutritional.
Through the years, many grape species have been refined to contain the very best flavor and aroma. Native to the Americas, Vitis labrusca grapes have loose skins which are easily removed, making this species ideal for grape juice production. A species of grape native to Europe and East and Central Asia, Vitis vinifera grapes can now be found anywhere in the world. These grapes for growing have a tight skin and are used for wine production.
A Personal Vineyard
Many people across the globe have used the grape growing information available today, and found success growing grapes at home, and even making wine. Although they are operating on a much smaller scale than the productive vineyards, the effort is still demanding. Learning how to grow grape vines takes time, but because the techniques involved are minimal, it is a very realistic venture. Home growers must start by locating an ideal location that offers the essentials for success. Exposure to sunlight and good drainage are primary considerations. If the area you are looking at tends to contain standing water after a heavy rainfall, for example, you will know that the ground does not provide the drainage conditions necessary for grapes to thrive. A slope, even a slight one, will help to give you the drainage necessary. Another benefit to planting on a slope is that if you provide the proper orientation to the grapevines, their exposure to heat and cold can be reduced. In cool regions of America and Canada, for example, grapevines thrive when planted with south facing slopes, offering them maximum exposure to heat and sunlight. Continual tending of your vineyard will be necessary. Because you will be dealing with pest control, weed management and seasonal pruning, be sure you plan your layout for easy access. This includes access for equipment, workers, and accessibility to water and tools, all necessary parts of grape vine growing.
Time for Action
So, now you have established the best location for your vineyard, and it's time to begin the work. First, you will need to prepare the soil. The nutrients in the ground are the foundation of your final product. Realizing that grape plants are large, but are unable to sustain the weight of the grape bunches as they grow, you will have to construct a sturdy, proper trellis that will accommodate your vines and fruit. If you were to see grapes growing in the wild, you would find them reaching out along the ground, and climbing up whatever they could find; a fence, tree or rock outcropping. So you must provide a strong trellis that will last for your grapes. Keep in mind, however, that these are perennial plants, so it will be about three years before you will have your first harvest.
Your hard work and attention to detail will be returned in the rewards of your crop. If you choose to make your own wine, you will realize that an amazing fact about grapes is that the soil they are planted in, the conditions of the sun, temperature, wind and water levels all contribute to the overall quality and taste of the grapes. So your wine, which you have labored so carefully for, will be distinct and unique, and something you certainly can call your own!