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Author Topic: Vineyards, small scale  (Read 1656 times)

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Vineyards, small scale
« on: July 04, 2016, 07:19:22 pm »
I have been thinking about this for a long time. A few years ago (to be precise 4 yrs ago) I bought some wine grape vines, the varieties are rondo (red) and Triomphe d alsace (I think). I would like more rondo as the grapes are supposed to be fantastic from them, so have been potting on cuttings with good soil and rooting powder, lets hope they take eh? :excited: So far I have had 1 good crop, 1 not. I know for a fact that I can't really grow them here, as the ground isn't the best for outdoor growing. I was thinking of getting a polytunnel in the near future and planting them in ground there making it well draining, my question is how to go about this? Vines are traditionally (and with good reasoning) grown on slopes with either a slate base or alkaline soils, preferably soils which are well draining, retaining warmth and also have a good water table for the roots to drink from. I have also read from a vineyard grower that he uses fruit trees planted around his vineyards for his grape vine roots to attach themselves onto the deep rooting fruit trees, during the hot summer months, to provide well needed nutrients for them (as traditional wine growers do not water their vines, it is highly frowned upon) this also gives the wines a unique flavour. Does this sound complicated at all? please stop me if it does, or if am going on a bit ;D I am trying to understand how it all works before trying it. Could anyone give me any tips at all to soil management, i assume I would need soil testing kits to see? I read the soil cannot be too rich for vines, becuase if it is they grow more foliage than fruit, but at the same time no too poor in nutrients. How do I keep this balence, I heard they added some time of manure or nutrients to the soil but how much would this be? I don't want it to be too much or too little. Lastly and finally could I get a good wine crop from growing them in a polytunnel?
Thanks for being patient with me guys and i look forward to reading your posts!  :)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2016, 07:21:01 pm by waterbuffalofarmer »
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.
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farmershort

  • Joined Nov 2010
Re: Vineyards, small scale
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2016, 07:24:41 pm »
I thought grape vines had to be grafted onto root stock, rather than just propagated from cuttings?

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Vineyards, small scale
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2016, 09:37:19 pm »
I'm no expert on viniculture but a few main point... is this just for home consumption or with intent to be commercial?
Have you given thought to the actual making of the wine if commercial?
Grapes certainly will grow from cuttings...usually taken late winter . commercially indeed it's a case of the correct rootstock for the soil and weather conditions where you grow and then grafting the variety. And if planning on commercial levels then DIY soil test kits won't cut it... you won't be measuring subtleties that way.

There is a link (somewhere) to Welsh viniculture and the rules regarding classification of wines made.. and Rondo grapes are on the lower quality price wine subsection. As you probably realise there are several Welsh vineyards.. and they don't use tunnels although you'ld probably need to for decent crops of dessert grapes in Wales?

I planted 4 varieties of seedless dessert grape (and can't remember what they were) And I'm growing them on a  simple double guyot. One grape died the first year and I replaced it.. replacement grew really well for 18mths.. and died over last winter. I have yet to dig it out and check the roots.. either just a dud patch of soil or perhaps parasites before i try and use that bit again. This is their 4th year and finally a few decent flower heads showing but it'll take a good late autumn for dessert grapes to make it.

I've not heard of trees to help the roots but certainly to act as a wind or frost break and a hillside for the frost to roll down and past can help as can rocks to act as heatsinks around the base. A south facing wall is another obvious one (and stick a fig there too)

I took 4 cuttings as an aftethought when i pruned in late jan.. 2 appeared to take and one of those died in it's potting compost. The other is robust and getting pot bound in a deep pot.. time to plant out.

There is a huge vineyard near Newtown.. and it's mostly on the flat http://www.penarthvineyard.co.uk/
 
Also get hope from here: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/food-drink/15-welsh-vineyards-you-probably-7993053

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Vineyards, small scale
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2016, 10:42:41 pm »
Thanks for that @pgkevet  I was just thinking for home consumption. I actually bought these from winemakers in Wales, although cant remember which one. I see your points about rootstock, how could I go about obtaining rootstock? would  it be by buying in other vines and grafting on? I hear in holland or other countries in Europe that they mix rondo with other wine grapes to create good flavoured wines. I read about an Italian brunello grower grows his vines in fields surrounf by deep rooting fryit trees so that they can give the vines moisture during very dry hot spells.
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Vineyards, small scale
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2016, 04:53:44 am »
I don;t know enough about rootstock variants and their suitability for soil/climate types although I recall penarth vineyards made some comment about the vines they grow being types folk said wouldn't do well... and they do..
It may even be that Rondo is suitable as rootstock for hobby quality.

If you were planning to go commercial then (as i recall from HesterF who used to be on here) It'd be wise to contact one of the contract vineplanting companies that apparently come over here annually and machine plant vineyards around the country. They did some 2000 vines for her in a day. Her soil abalysis showed a magnesium deficiency and they foliage feeed to correct that I recall.

If it's just hobby messing about ( 'cos I had thought of doing this on middlefield hill which faces south) then I'd just buy a few varieties of grape that theoretically should work and take cuttings/trial them myself. It'd take some years to build up the vine supply. It's supposed to be 3years to first crop but it's taking me 4yrs here for a first small crop. But you'll get cuttings from year 2.

I used to have a grape in a greenhouse down south. Now that was well established and just pruning gave me 3 wjheelbarrows of waste.. i.e dozens of cuttings every year. I also suppose that a mix of varieties give more flexibility for seasonal changes and options of mixing dfferent sugar yields??

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Vineyards, small scale
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2016, 12:07:55 am »
Ha, I'm back! Actually came in to see what the feedback on red mite predators was but then this thread caught my eye....

Yes, we have about 2200 vines on two acres of land. However, our conditions are very different to yours - we're at the foot of the North downs in Kent so we have South West facing sloping land, less than 500ft above sea level and alkali. In fact, Tattinger has just bought land a couple of miles away for their first UK vines (apparently) . And yes, they were planted for us by machine to be absolutely aligned. We have some Chardonnay (not doing so well) and the majority Pinot Noir (some big enough to crop from this year but mostly it'll be next year for the first harvest). Before planting we had our soil tested (Mg deficit - well remembered pgkevet) and expert advice on the best root stocks for our conditions.

I've never heard of planting fruit trees around but we had our land subsoiled at about 1m down before planting to allow the vines' roots to break through asap. I can't see how you could get trees close enough without shading the vines and stealing their nutrients too. I think vines are pretty good at getting their own tap root down which makes them drought resistant - and the problem with watering anything is that it encourages shallow rooting. Having said that, we have watered new plantings and we still have some of those this year as we'd still got some gaps of poor performing vines to fill.

Not sure how much you want to spend but our vines, already grafted, come from Silke at contact@pepinieres-tourette.fr (i.e. direct from France, bare root in May time, after last frost - they keep them cool to stop them budding before planting). They will just do a few (well tens of vines, not sure about a handful). But I guess you'd need to know what variety and root stock you'd want first.

Good luck!

Hester

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Vineyards, small scale
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2016, 01:15:50 am »
Thanks for that @HesterF I found it really helpful :) I will definately have a look into it. We're based in Ceredigion near the sea, but do get blasted during the winter, I have land elsewhere which has a slate based soil and recieves a lot of light/warmth, not sure they would survive a winter though. Tricky UK weather isn't it?  I have seen vineyards in North wales on flat ground? I am guessing that slopes would be better though? as they would be better draining. How do you manage your vines and does it change with each variety?  :)
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Vineyards, small scale
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2016, 11:22:26 am »
At the Royal Welsh spring festival they had a selection of Welsh wines, including a sparkling one. They were all very expensive, about £16 for a bottle smaller than the usual 75CL and the sparkiling one was about £31

I like wine and will drink all most any of it but I found these all to be horrible, apart from the sparkling one but that was vastly over priced.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Vineyards, small scale
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2016, 10:27:49 pm »
I don't really know why slopes are better - I assume just because each vine gets more sunshine, not sure it has much to do with drainage. We used to live in Switzerland where there are a lot of vineyards and I got the impression that the poor, sloping land could be used for vineyards whereas livestock and arable crops made better use of the flat ground. They don't mind cold winters, they're dormant through that and many of the traditional grape growing regions have harsh winters, but they do need a lot of warm sun in summer and I think that will be more of your struggle. We battle mildew here when the weather is too damp and I imagine our climate is a lot drier than yours!

Our vines are all managed the same. We're using the Scott Henry trellis system which maximises yield from a small area (apparently). It's not used commercially because it's too much faff and still not really sure it'll work for us because my husband, whose baby this really is, is struggling to find the time to train them. They were planted in 2014, then first winter after that we pruned them all back to just a couple of buds so about 8 inches high, then last year they grew more massively and so for winter pruning, many were taken back to about 1m high which is the trunk to be. Spring time all the buds but the top two or three are removed and these form the shoots that will run along the trellis. With Scott Henry you end up with a double system where you pull the bottom level of shoots down and the top lot are trained along a higher wire to give them all space and exposure to the sun. It is all pretty time consuming and we also use vast amounts of chemicals (which was not the original intention) to kill the weeds, feed them, prevent mildew etc. etc. But if you have fewer, you might be able to do more by hand. We also receive a regular bulletin sharing the weather forecast and prompting us what would be should be doing.

I can't see that an English red could ever really live up to international competition - even under cover I'd have thought it would struggle. But with pinot noir we hope to be able to produce sparkling whites, still whites, sparkling rose and still rose. Certainly Chapel Down is not very far from us and their wines are gorgeous - cheapest bottle of still white retails at just under £10 with sparkling whites and roses going up over £30. Just not sure whether these prices are attainable for our sort of scale particularly as it's such a growing supply here with more and more vineyards being established.

 

Small nuts.

Started by Hevxxx99

Replies: 6
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Last post September 25, 2014, 02:58:08 pm
by Hevxxx99

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