Growing Grapes

Bunch of concord grapes against autumn leaves.
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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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
March 21, 2006
purple grapes hanging from vine

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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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 418 Posts
September 18, 2018

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.Keep Animals from Eating Your Grapes - green grapes on the vine


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.

Keep Animals from Eating Your Grapes - abundance of grapes
Keep Animals from Eating Your Grapes - fake snake in grape vine
Keep Animals from Eating Your Grapes - black hose to look like a snake on ground
Keep Animals from Eating Your Grapes - length of hose in the grass
Keep Animals from Eating Your Grapes - length of hose around tree
Keep Animals from Eating Your Grapes - grapes in bucket
Keep Animals from Eating Your Grapes - bowl of grapes
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14 Questions

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 418 Posts
September 14, 2022

What do you call these things hanging from my grapevine? Can I cut them off now or do I have to wait until the vine is dormant?

This is the first year they have been this thick and this long.

Bare vines growing from a grapevine.
Bare vines growing from a grapevine.


Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 425 Answers
September 16, 20221 found this helpful
Best Answer

I believe they are called AIR ROOTS. They really aren't needed for the plant to grow and produce grapes. They are more for anchoring to whatever they are trying to climb and grow on.


They can be quite ugly, so just cut them off.

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September 17, 20220 found this helpful
Best Answer

It appears these are called 'Aerial Roots' and although weird looking can be removed without damaging your grape vines.
"Aerial rooting in grapes has been described as an indication of cold injury."
"Grape aerial roots, in themselves, are harmless. There is no evidence suggesting that they will impact the health or fruit production of the vine. However, grape aerial roots may actually be a sign from the vine that it is stressed or that it has experienced an injury in the recent past."


Here is a link that explains what may be causing your problem.

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September 20, 20220 found this helpful
Best Answer

Yes, these are aerial roots.
I found an interesting post by Eric Stafne (Mississippi State University) about aerial root formation in grapevines.
"Aerial root formation in Vitis has been documented on different grape species; however, the driving forces behind the formation of adventitious roots are not well understood.
In temperate regions, freeze injury is the most likely initiator of aerial roots, as de Klerk et al. (1999) stated that some wounding is generally necessary to induce rooting.


Freeze injury has often been associated with aerial roots in temperate vineyard locations (Takeda et al., 1982; Clark, 2001); although, environmental conditions that follow the freeze event also may play a role.
With so little documentation of aerial rooting, one may conclude that the roots have no function and have no subsequent effect on the vine after they are produced. However, at least one author (Lindley, 1855) believed that vines that produced aerial roots also produced "bad grapes" and had "poor cane development".
Subsequent effect of aerial roots on the vine has not been shown conclusively to be detrimental."

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December 1, 2021

I have grown a grapevine now for 4 years in my greenhouse. The root is outside the greenhouse, the vine is inside the greenhouse. All I get is bunches of small pea size grapes, very sweet but a lot of pips. Have taken advice over the years; pruning, thinning, feeding, watering, training, etc.

But it is the same. I'm about giving up on it now. Gave it my all. What can be the problem with this vine, is it just a runt? Help!

A grapevine with small grapes.


Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 320 Answers
December 1, 20211 found this helpful
Best Answer

It's frustrating to try garden tips to no avail! You didn't mention soil, so I'll add here that too much nitrogen could be a culprit. However, assuming your grapes are Thompson, I'll venture that expectations are possibly not realistic. Industrial farmers use gibberellic acid (a synthetic plant growth regulator, i.e. hormone) to increase size and therefore marketability of table grapes -- this not available to home growers.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
December 1, 20211 found this helpful
Best Answer

Make sure you are pruning the vine after the growing season is over. Letting the vine grow wild can be the cause of small grapes.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 131 Feedbacks
December 9, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

You do not grow the same type of grapevine and you do not grow a grapevine the same way if you want to have, big beautiful grapes to eat, grapes to make good wine, or if you want the grapevine to grow over an arbor. But in any case you should not grow a gravevine inside a greenhouse. The grapevines that produce wine are not good to eat. On a wine grapevine for the winter season we cut off all the branches and in the spring, out of the new branches starting from the floral buttons we leave only one branch or two branches at the most to grow along a wire and that's all. The grapevine that produces good quality wine is not left to climb it is maintained horizontal, it must receive all the nutrients and the whole field must receive as much sun as possible, that's why the plants are facing south in a slope to have no shadow. By law the grapes are picked up at a given time not earlier not later and for the grapes to receive as much sunlignt and warmth as possible we take off the leaves. In France it is forbiden to water the wine grapevines. It means that to make good wine you grow only a few grapes on the same plant, you do not water it to concentrate sugar as much as possible and you give it as much sun as possible. If your grapevine is a wine grapevine and you make it grow as many grapes as possible you will only have smallgrapes with nearly no taste and that will not be ready before falls (october). I your vine is made to produce table grapes it is the same if you want the kind of beautiful grapes you find in shops then you will have to make your vine produce only very few grapes. In the great grape yards like Bordeaux, côtes du Rhône, or côtes de Beaune each grapevine is kept as old as 50 years, because the less you wornout the plant the best the grapes will be. That means that to find out the right way to treat your grapevine you have to know which type it is because you will never get grapes delicious to eat if your vine is a wine grapevine. Here are the names of the tables grapes grapevines: the dark blue grapes : Alphonse Lavallée, Cardinal, Prima, Lival, Muscat de Hambourg and the white grapes ones : Ora, Danlas, Chasselas, Centennial. Hope this helps !

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December 14, 2012

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

By Charlie

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August 27, 2009

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


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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

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March 11, 2010

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

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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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