Introduction to Horticulture Plant: Grape Term: Viticulture
Grape (European) Vinis vinifera
Plant type: Vine
USDA Hardiness Zones: 5a to 9 (dep on var)
Height & Spread: Depends on pruning
Exposure: for fruit production: full sun
Bloom Time: Late spring, Mid spring
Soil Condition: moist, Well drained
This grape species is grown for table grapes and wine grapes.
Different cultivars are grown for different purposes.
Table grapes do not make good wines & vise versa
Science production and study of grapes
Sometimes called viniculture
Enology – study of wine making
Grape growth in Va
Over 2700 acres planted in grapes
Over 6000 tons of grapes
Crop value estimated at $7.8 million
Average price $1,400/ton
Virginia is 8 th in the nation in grape production
Almost all of Va’s grape production is for wine
#1 Agricultural growth product
Grown on a slope for drainage – no wet roots
Require trellising and extensive pruning
Space 6’ apart in a row and rows at least 8’ apart (may need more for equipment)
Vineyard Preparation (late October through November) The vineyard is fertilized and prepared for winter. The vines enter a dormant stage.
Vineyard Care and Pruning (December through January) The grapevines are also pruned to help control the yield and quality of the coming year's grape harvest.
Vineyard Preparation (February and March) Grafting vines onto rootstock can also be done indoors. By the end of March the grapevines begin to come out of their dormant stage.
Frost Watch and Vineyard Care (April through May) The threat of frost has not departed with winter. Year-old cuttings can now be planted. The first buds start to open as leaves begin to develop along with the new growth. The soil is worked again and unwanted vegetation is removed.
The Flowering (June) & Vineyard Care (July) The vineyards are inspected, weeded, and sprayed, as weeds constantly compete with the grapevines for nutrients. The vines are again trimmed to encourage fruit production.
Véraison (August) T his is the beginning of the ripening phase. With harvest around the corner, sugar, pH, and acid levels are monitored closely. Grapes at this stage are very tart, from the high acid level. The acid will convert to sugar from contact with sunlight. Too much rain at this point will effect the flavor and quality of the grapes.
Harvest Preparation (mid-August through early September) Dry, sunny days are needed to insure a ripe and mature crop. The sugar, acidity, and pH levels of the grapes are monitored. A harvesting plan is drawn up, identifying which sections of the vineyards will be picked first.
Harvest (early September through mid-October) When the grapes contain proper sugar, acidity, and pH levels, the harvest begins. Unripe and damaged fruit is to be left on the vine. It will be picked at a later date. The fruit is then sent directly to the winery as quickly as possible to avoid any undesirable oxidation of the grape juice that can occur once it has been exposed to the air. Sulfur may be spread on the grapes to retard oxidation
Most are harvested by hand to ensure best quality
Large production & lower quality harvest by machine