Growing Grapes

Growing your own grapes can be a rewarding and delicious experience. Whether you are thinking about a table or wine variety, there are some important factors to consider, such as choosing the right variety for your area. This is a page about growing grapes.


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Planning Tips:

With over 100 varieties available, the secret to growing grapes is to choose a problem resistant variety suited to your climate and soil. The classic wine grapes from Europe, for example, prefer sunny, dry summers and are hardy to zone 6, although they will grow as far south as zone 9. American grapes tolerate cold winters and humid summers. They are hardy to zones 4-7.
Certain varieties are also bred to thrive in the humid climate of the southeast (zones 7-10). Most grapes are self-pollinating, but check with your supplier to find out which ones are best. You can expect as much as 10 to 20 pounds of grapes per vine after 4 to 5 years of growth and smaller yields as soon as 2 years after planting.

Site Preparation:

Choose a site that has exposure to full sun and well-drained soil with an acidic pH (5.0 to 6.0). Avoid areas where frost and standing water can be problematic or where wild grapes are growing nearby. Prepare the site by working plenty of organic matter into the soil. Because different varieties have different growing habits, it's best to erect the appropriate trellises or wire supports on the site before planting. One popular method is to make a fence by driving sturdy wood or metal poles into the ground at 8 foot intervals and connect them with galvanized wire spaced at 3 foot and 6 foot heights.


Root stock should be planted in the early spring or mid-fall. Space European, American and hybrid grapes 8 feet apart with 8 feet between rows. Dig holes deep and wide enough to accommodate the root systems and fill up the hole with replacement dirt mixed with a little bit of peat moss and compost. Finish with a good watering. The area around the vine should be kept free of weeds and grass during the early stages of growth.

Care & Maintenance:

Young grape vines need to be trained (pruned) to establish a physical structure that will eventually support the weight of their grapes. There are a number of ways to do this, and the best method for your cultivars depends on their particular growing habits. Consult with your supplier for specific details. Grapes need less nitrogen than other fruit trees and should not be fertilized unless your soil is poor and foliage is exhibiting nutrient deficiency.

Harvesting & Storage:

Harvest grapes when they are fully ripe-they will not continue to ripen on the vine. Grape's sugar content rises as much as 20% as they ripen, so a taste-test is the best way to tell if they are fully ripe. American and European grapes can be harvested by cutting the fruit off in whole bunches. Other varieties should be spot-picked every few days because they ripen unevenly. Grapes can be stored in you refrigerator for two months or more depending on the variety.
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For the past several years we didn't get to enjoy our Scuppernong grapes, except the ones we found as they were beginning to get ripe. Starting in August, before the grapes were fully ripe, the raccoons came at night and had a family reunion in our grapevine. They didn't even clean up after themselves. The next day, the ground was covered with split open grape hulls. Each day I searched for some grapes to eat and also picked up the grape hulls and any grapes that had fallen and kept the ground clean. Before the grapes got ripe they were all gone.

This year, I outsmarted the raccoons by using my old rubber snake and several pieces of black rubber hose that look like snakes. Each day, I picked up any fallen grapes and moved the snake and hoses to different locations. Only one or two grape hulls on the ground that looked like they had been eaten by animals. Keeping the ground clean kept the gnats and ants away as well.

On September 14th, Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. I knew, starting that afternoon, we would be getting a lot of wind and rain. Most all the grapes were ripe enough to pick so we quickly gathered all we could reach which was most of them. I had enough grapes to bag 5 quarts to put in the refrigerator and enough left over to share with the neighbors. Right after we finished picking them, it started raining.

We sure are enjoying these grapes, even the ones that haven't turned brown yet.

If you have listened to the news, you have heard about the devastation in North Carolina from hurricane Florence. Many in the low country are without power and are flooded. Please pray for them.

In our area, we are thankful to have not lost power and have had very little wind damage. The storm has moved on and the sun came out today. This morning, I checked the grapevine. I found only 4 grapes left hanging on one branch and there were no grapes or hulls on the ground under the vine. I'm glad we had time to pick them before the storm got here.

When the wind dies down, I'll get out my baby pool and start cleaning up the yard.

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12 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 14, 2012

I have a large garden and would love to grow a grapevine. How do I start?

By Charlie


December 17, 20120 found this helpful

First, check with your local nursery to make sure you are in an area where grapes will grow. They will also advise you which varieties are best. When I was a child in Illinois we had a concord grape vine in our back yard which did produce grapes.
Now I have one in my yard in Santa Clara county in California which is also doing very well.

Next, plant it somewhere that you can have a very good trellis. Mine is made from 2x2s and leans against the side of the house. It supports the almost 100 lbs of grapes every year without falling down. That is just from one plant!

You could also train the vines horizontally along a fence. Every Fall we prune the vines way back to just the thickest ones. It might be a good idea to go to the library and take out some books about growing grapes or buy one at that local nursery.

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We have small flies on our grape leaves. We have about 1/3 of an acre and so far about 5 plants are infected. Can you recommend a soap mixture that would get rid of the flies and not hurt the grapes?

Hardiness Zone: 9a

By Rae Ann Anderson


August 28, 20090 found this helpful

I sug to mix 1 teaspoon of liquid soap to 1 quart of water, in a spray bottle.I get them at Dollar store for a dollar, if that's not strong enough add more soap, good luck.

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August 31, 20090 found this helpful

"Liquid soap" meaning something like Ivory soap, not harsh dish detergents. I use Dr. Bronner's liquid soap which can be found in some health food stores, supermarkets, or drug stores.

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August 31, 20090 found this helpful

Your "flies" I imagine are Whiteflies. You could also just purchase and organic product like Safer's insecticidal soap and not chance using regular soaps that that can burn leaves once exposed to sun.
Soaps MUST come in direct contact with the pests to be any use because there is no residual effect. You will need to apply more than once because the adult flies will fly off when disturbed. Be sure to hit both tops and undersides of the leaves.
Whiteflies are not easy to control. Good luck!

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August 31, 20090 found this helpful

Check with He gives you recipes for tonics for pests in the garden, as well as other issues. Most of the ingredients you already have in your home, so the cost is reasonable. I purchased a 20 page phamplet from him more than 25 years ago and had such great success, that I have purchasd several other books. His website has some tonic recipes and you can e-mail him for answers to your specific questions also. I hate to send you to just another site, but I can attest to fact that his advice is sound. Good Luck!

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September 26, 2011

Are grape vines perennials or annuals? My zone is Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Teresa


September 26, 20110 found this helpful

They are perenials. Check with a local nursery.

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September 27, 20110 found this helpful

They're perennials, but some varieties are hardier than others. I've grown Concord grapes in Salt Lake City, but that's too cold, I think, for most varieties. Wasshrunk is right, talk to your local nursery, if possible, or check your zone in a nursery catalog and then look for a variety that will thrive there.

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I was wondering if anybody knew about grape vines. I have a Concord vine in my back yard. Last year it produced quite a bit of fruit. I am not quite sure if it was just proper conditions or if it is getting more mature. My question is does anyone know how to train it without ruining it?

By Andrea from Canada


March 11, 20100 found this helpful

Pruning grapes is another very important part of growing grapes and is beneficial for grape quality. Without proper pruning the amount of grapes produced and the size of the grapes will decrease. After vines are set using a trellis system they should be pruned to one stem and cut back to only a few buds. Pruning can be done in winter, but not during severe winter weather. Over and under pruning will cause grapes to be not as healthy. One particular expert says on his blog about how to grow grapes, that a grape vine reacts to the way you prune. Which means you will have fruit if you prune for fruit and you will have shoots if you prune for shoots.

Another important part of growing grape vines is air circulation; this prevents disease which can occur if the air is able to stagnant. Air circulation will also keep the vines moisture free and dry so there's less chance for fungus to grow. Don't plant grape vines anywhere that interferes with air circulation or movement. As you may see on t v where grape growers prune them way back to about head high ,for more go to "how to grow grapes"lot of info there, Good luck.

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September 30, 2012

How do I transplant 4 year old Merlot plants?

By R Hale

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August 22, 2012

We had a very hot, dry summer. I covered my grapes with netting to keep birds out, but as my grapes were ripening, something proceeded to eat them, leaving the stems on the vine and the grape skins on the ground. What is eating them and what can be done to prevent this, as the netting doesn't seem to be doing the trick?

By Paula

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July 9, 2012

Will ants eat the leaves on my grapevines? If not, what else could it be?

By Fannie

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Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this page.

July 7, 2014

Photo Description
This grapevine has taken over my gazebo.

Photo Location
Plum Grove, TX

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September 20, 2017

Even if you don't have a garden space, you can successfully grow grapes in a container on your patio or deck. This is a page about growing grapes in containers.

Grow Grapes On Your Patio/Deck/Back Yard - grape standard in bucket

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August 22, 2013

This is a page about propagating grape vines from cuttings. Grape vines are a good candidate for propagating from either dormant or green cuttings.

Wine grapes growing.

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