Growing Grapes: How To Get Epic Amounts Of Fruit From The Vine

Ed Wike
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Grapes: Quick Care Guide

Harvest Grapes: Grapes are ripe when they are glossy and their colors are at their peak concentration. This is sign of their sugars that have turned to sweetness (for most). Take care not to snap off the grape when harvesting as this will lead to less fruit on the vine when it reaches maturity. If you are a little off with the timing, worry not, the unripe grapes can be kept for a few days in a bowl or the paper bag you brought them home in. This will also allow you to taste-test before you pick the entire bunch. If you are concerned about how ripe your grapes are always check for the stem. If it is brown, it is time. Another way to determine if grapes are ready is to listen. Grapes are ripe when they are crisp to the touch. They should make a crunch sound when squeezed.

Harvesting: The largest grapes are all around the middle of the vine. They are also much easier to spot on a mature vine than on a young one and tend to be easier to harvest. The reason being is that the leaves below block the sunlight from reaching the grapes. This causes them not to develop as much sweetness. Also, as the fruit continues to ripen, it becomes sweeter and sweeter.

All About Grapes

Grapes are easy to grow and can have an almost indefinite life cycle. They are part of the great plant family Vitis vinifera. No other plant in this family comes even close to grapes with regard to size of fruit, quality of fruit, and resistance.

Grapes are naturally self-pollinating but a good wind will do the trick. Napa and Zinfandel will cross with each other because they are so similar. Get both of these vines in one location and you will have a mess of mis-identified grapes.

Unlike other plants evergreens, grapes freeze but not hard. They will lose all their leaves in the winter but will come back.

American Grapes

We Americans are crazy about grapes, and the grape industry stands out as a shining success story amongst farm-to-table efforts of the past generation. With thousands of varieties, grape growers have created a nation that's a playground for oenophiles and anyone who loves fresh, juicy grapes. There are red and green grapes, and all sorts of hybrids that produce differing amounts of juice and skin.

The moneymaker, however, is with the large, red table grapes. On average, a ton of grapes yields 12 to 15 percent pulp and 75 percent skin. The ratio can drift wildly, however: up to 55 percent pulp and as little as 5 percent.

Grape yield is based on two factors: fruit size and berry setting. Larger grapes contain more volume of juice and pulp. They also set more berries. When the vine is young, it's winter hardy and can bear a good deal of fruit and no fertility is required for a good crop. Production increases with fertility.

European Grapes

Grapes are perennial plants that originated in Asia and date back to 64 million years ago. As the plant reproduced, the vine spread to other areas of the world including Europe.

The earliest grape vine, dated to 8600 BC, was discovered in Vayron, France.

Vitis Vinifera grapes are the ones most commonly used for food. There are more than 1,700 varieties all over the world.

There are many ways to cultivate grapes, but the most common method for growing grapes in the United States is through staking the vine and pruning the branches.

Grapes are heavy feeders, so plant your vine in a nutrient-rich soil and add composted organic materials to the soil at the beginning of the season.

Don’t forget hand-weeding; it is the most effective way to clear unwanted species from the vine.

It is recommended to plant the vine in an area that faces south, or in an area where it can get some shade.

Staking the vine is the standard way to grow grapes in the United States. It creates a natural trellis that enables the fruit to grow on the vine and supports its weight once the fruit is ripe.

Hybrid Grapes

A Fruit Tree in the Form of a Vine

Grapes grow on vines. This is what makes them different from most other fruit trees or shrubs that grow in the ground. Such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, and the like. That’s also why tracking down vine-specific advice is a little tricky.

Grapes, like any other fruit, grow best when they have a steady source of water. So make sure to provide the proper care your grapevine needs to stay healthy and happy. This way your grapes will ripen up and stay fruity on the vine. The good news is you can do a lot of this advice for most any fruit yielder because it isn’t too different from most any other fruit tree. The worse news is that it can be a little tricky.

The first thing to understand is that grapes are fruit trees in the form of vines. They still have more in common with the other fruit trees. But they will never grow to be like an apple tree. So any good advice you find for planting, pruning, and harvesting your apple trees may be applied here. But you also want to find out about vine culture. And how to grow grapes on an arbor, pergola, fence, or trellis, so you can keep them in their little green patch in the yard.

The most common grapes to grow in the U.S. include the Concord variety and the Catawba. If you are growing grapes in a trellis, your vines should be 10 feet apart at minimum. You will need a high-quality fertilizer like an NPK 10-20-10 granular fertilizer to feed your plants in the spring.

The fastest growing vines can be the hardest to manage, because they have the potential to grow too fast for the trellis to handle. If growth from the previous season is very vigorous, you might want to cut the vine off halfway up the trellis and let the excess vine trees that are hanging down on the ground. There will be a chance for you to eat some grapes from it in the fall.

Select the best-looking canes from the excess vines to use as replacements for the ones that you cut off in the trellis. Carefully measure out a new trellis, remembering not to crowd your vines. Your grapes will do best on trellises to keep their fruit off the ground, away from animals and the elements.

Wine Grapes

Wine grapes are divided into two basic groups, what we may consider the true wine grapes and table grapes. Table grapes are generally sweet, such as Thompson Seedless, Flame, and Concord. The others are used to produce wine and have a greater acidity.

If you are a fan of wine or just curious about what makes some wine grapes special for winemaking, you should know some of the characteristics of each. The following are some common wine grapes that are divided by color and what makes them so special.

Bordeaux Grapes

Dark green with a tint of red. Sweet to the taste but can have a smoky flavor when grown in moderate climates and then aged in oak barrels.

Pinot Noir

Purplish-red with a tint of green. Very fruity and light. Can have a citrus flavor to it.

Pinot Gris

Greenish-gray color. Commonly used in sparkling wines. Has a sweet flavor with citrus and pear while even having a little spiciness to it.

Riesling

Light pale in color with a lime tone. Can be made both dry and semi-sweet with a mild fruity taste.

Sauvignon Blanc

Light and yellow with a greenish tint. Can be a little more acidic than other wines. Has a lot of fruit content to it.

Table Grapes

Most people have never tried growing grapevines, but they are not as difficult as most people think. The first thing to consider in growing grapes at home (aside from deciding what variety you’d like to grow) is whether you want to grow table (wine) grapes or raisin grapes. The only difference is that table grapes can be eaten fresh, while older grapes are used for raisins.

For the grapevine yourself, you want to choose table grapes as a starter plant. Raisins don’t taste good fresh, and if you want raisins, you can pick grapes from the grocery store. If you’re certain you want to make wine, or if you just want to grow table grapes, you can purchase a grape vine from an online retailer.

Raisin Grapes

Or Table Grapes?

There are two types of grapes: raisin and table grapes. Table grapes are larger, sweeter, and have a softer skin. Lower in acid and tannins, they're great for eating fresh, and are a staple of every supermarket. Raisin grapes are smaller, tarter, and have a harder skin. They're also lower in sugar and higher in tangy flavor, and are a much more robust, healthy snack, and a great source of fiber. If you're just looking to snack on some grapes, however, you can always go with a package of seedless table grapes.

Jams, Jellies, & Juices

Grapes are a tasty snack and an easy to make ingredient. Old-fashioned grape jelly is not very common anymore for some reason, but it is very much worth making. Make your own sprinkles by snipping the grapes off the stems with scissors, saving up to a cup of the leftovers and squeezing the grapes through a colander. Put everything into a saucepan, and then add a cup of sugar for every cup of ricotta. Put it on the stove on medium until everything melts into a delicious sweetened grape goo that will be your family’s new favorite treat.

Make your own homemade juice. Squeeze your grapes to harvest their sweet nectar and then blend them with other fresh fruits like apples. A juicer will extract a nicer juice out of using whole fruits and vegetables, you may decide to go with fresh fruit juice, but a blender or food processor will do the job of more than chopping.

Multi-Purpose Grapes

A multi-plane trellis is a great way to maximize the space on your property while providing shade and fruit.

You can build your trellis at a 45…angle so that it doesn't shade your garden, and then build it up at a 90… angle against your house. This way you will have grapes and extending shade on your home. ..

The other broad type of trellis is called a cane-pole trellis. Here you have a wooden frame that holds upright poles at the top. The poles can be canes, as the name implies, or they can be cedar trees that are cut to a more manageable size. From the top you will run strings along each pole and down to the ground. The strings should be spaced out about 4 feet or so, and should have a single wire attached. The last string should have two wires, one running each direction. The more wires, the better. The wires, called quills, support the vines as they grow.

Growing Grapes

The science of growing grapes is not something that is well understood by small growers. A grapevine has a fruitfulness period (bearing season) which runs from spring until the first hard frost. This period can be extended by pruning the vine during the previous year. This can increase the fruitfulness period to a year-around bearing season. The fruitfulness period can be extended still further to two years by training the vine to be a cordons directif (also known as a single trunk system). This is achieved by pruning the previous year, cordoning off the canes to form cordons and then training those cordon to elect to a single trunk. Both these systems continue the fruitfulness period indefinitely provided the vine is healthy. One can decide how many fruiting canes to grow, or one can try different cordon heights and depths to optimize harvests. One can modify the training one's grapevine to suit a particular cordon-training method and custom-design the canes for the conditions in one's particular area. Several people made this technique popular and it is still used today.

However, what one cannot do is tell a grapevine to stop bearing fruit. A grapevine bears fruit for years. The fruitfulness period is slowed or stopped only by hard frost, fire, or wood rot.

When To Plant Grapes

When it comes to planting fruit trees, most of the time you can plant your trees at any time of year. This is because most fruit trees do not require dormancy to grow.

However, there are some rules and exceptions to this.

Certain trees, like all types of citrus, should not be picked until at least one year. This is so that they can grow a substantial enough root system.

You also need to consider the type of fruit you're growing. For pumpkins, plant your seedlings in June. For sweet corn, plant in April. For other varieties of fruit, like berries, you can plant at any time of year.

This is good to know because, if you end up going to the nursery at the wrong time of year, you can just take the tree or plants you purchase and plant later.

Where To Plant Grapes

Grapes do well in soil that drains well, and they usually thrive in a hot and dry climate. Since you will be planting many of these grapes, you will need to have a source of water, either from a well or a municipal water line, close by. This is to keep the grapes from dying when they are young and help the development of the sap.

Grapes won’t need to be nipped or pruned in most cases, but you will need to do this to keep the grape vine long and tight. You will need to go over the vine every fall or early spring and cut back any grapes that may have died over the growing season. Once you do this, you focus on keeping the vine healthy by giving it plenty of water and plenty of fertilizer.

How To Plant Grapes

Growing Grapes: How To Get Epic Amounts Of Fruit From The Vine

Let’s be clear.

This is no cakewalk.

Grapes require a serious time investment and a good amount of physical and mental energy.

In return you get tasty fruit.

But is the effort worth it?

Here’s the case for planting grapes.

Assuming that the temperature at your home is a mild 60 degrees or less you must plant your grape vine in the fall. If the daytime temperatures are going to be above 80 degrees or if you get frost in the winter then you must plant a grape vine in the spring. For the rest of us, the fall is the best time to plant grapes. This is when the vine resets itself after the growth of the season and when it develops a root system that is ready to go for the next growing season.

Growth Cycle Of Grapes

When growing grapes, there is one cardinal rule “ prune your grape vines correctly. The more plants that you have, the more important it is to prune with proper techniques. Improper pruning will lead to thinning of the buds in the absence of sunlight and hence poor quality fruit.

Grapevines require pruning before the growth cycle commences in spring and after it ends.

But growers are not consistent with pruning techniques. One-third of grape growers prune their grape vines during the winter, which defeats the entire purpose of pruning. To understand pruning grapes, you need to understand about a grape’s life cycle.

The Winter Pruning

The most common pruning technique is during winter. The aim here is to deadhead old wood, which is done for several reasons. When you cut back the old wood, you expose the grapevine’s buds to sunlight. This develops the next flush of growth in spring. Deadheading will stimulate growth of the vine, increasing the yield of grapes.

Another reason why you should deadhead vines during winter is that it removes weak wood, which increases the growth of strong wood. Deadheading of old wood will further distribute the nutrients in the vine, thus increasing the concentration of nutrients at the bud site. Deadheading increases the number of buds on the vines because buds are formed on the old wood.

Bud Break

Your grapes have been dormant all winter. Now they're waking up. Budbreak is the first major change you'll see.

The dormant buds on the vine’s branches start to swell, loose their brown leaves, and open slightly. This can occur however long after dormancy, depending on the area, temperature, and cultivar.

What caused this change? Your grapevine is gearing up for the botanical marathon. It's adjusting to ideal summertime climate, when the weather will toughen its skin, its roots will grow deeper, and its fruits will ripen. Of course, it's also getting ready to produce that juice you love.

After budbreak, you'll see a rush of new growth. At this time, prune existing wood to shape the vine and new growth. Pruning grapes is a little different from pruning other plants. Grapes have a couple major pruning periods.

Remove all the wood which resulted from the previous flowering cycle. Remove all grape clusters, leaves, and long tendrils. Remove a few of the inside buds on all canes. These are the buds that will grow into new trunk and framework of your grapevine. This helps the vine to become thicker and sturdier, and it results in larger and healthier berries.

Flowering Stage

The fruit of the grape vine, that we eat, is called a grape. Grapes begin to grow on the vine after the old flowers fall off. The new flowers are the ones that will become grapes. Once the flowers have been fertilized, they develop into little developing grapes called "grape berries". These grape berries are at their prime when they are a deep blue.

The flowers that you must be careful about are the ones with yellow flowers. These flowers have been fertilized, but the grape berries that follows will be either not good to eat or they will be green.

To have larger, ripened, and fleshy grapes, you will need to encourage your vine to produce a lot of flowers. To do this, you will want to watch the flowering phase.

Fruit Set

One of the biggest challenges with growing grapes is fruit set, especially on female vines. It is normal for a light crop of grapes to develop on a female vine the second (and possibly third) year. While it is always a good idea to buy an already established vine, it is not uncommon to see a few fruitless vines on purchased plants. It is also normal and expected for a vine to have light crops every once and a while during the growing season, even on established vines.

When you purchase a vine, it is a good idea to contact the supplier and find out the sex. You can also purchase female vines for better fruit set. Sexing the vine requires a trained eye. Most people buy their vines from local nurseries, and you can ask the nurseryman to identify the sex of the vines you are planting.

To determine the sex of the vine, you should look at the buds of the vine. A female bud will have an end that has a slight bulge. It will be pointed, like a pimple, and will look smooth. Male buds have a point that ends in two or three points. Pop one of the buds with a sharp knife and look inside. The male bloom has stamens in the papery tissue, while the female has the ovary.

Veraizon and Harvest

Veraizon is a fairly new variety of grape, very popular with home growers due to its disease resistance. Its juice is rich in sugar and also has high tannin levels. These add flavor as well as health benefits.

Veraizon grapes work well either to make jelly or wine. Harvest Moon is a California wine variety, widely used as a table grape and in the production of wine. It produces juicy red fruit.

To get the best out of your Veraizon and Harvest Moon grapes, wait until fully ripe, to pick. Berries that are a bit on the green side give under ripe grapes have little flavor and don’t keep well.

Keep an eye on the clusters and pick when they yield to gentle pressure. Pick all over the vine at this point to ensure you leave the most ripe berries at the bottom to mature. Store at a temperature of 65 degrees and enjoy within a week or so.

Post-Harvest

Looking for post-harvest traits in grapes and other fruit can really help you to understand the finer details of quality control and maximize profits. For instance, while most people almost instinctively choose based on the size of the fruit, there are additional factors that can boost value. The first is the taste of the juice. If you've ever squeezed a grape and the juices are bitter, it is going to be less appealing to consumers. It may seem like a superficial quality, but it is actually a good measure of overall quality. If you're having trouble getting the fruit ready for market, you will be happy to know that there are things you can do to boost juice quality.

You also need to look at other factors such as the dust and void ratio. You leave the grapes on the vine until they are quite ripe, but you don't want to leave them too long and overripe. If there is too much dust it means there is a higher chance you'll have mold and other issues. You also want a small amount of voids in the fruit. These voids are created from complications with the growing process and many customers won't buy the fruit with too many because it can be a sign of fruit that isn't as large or ripe as it should be. You can manually inspect the grapes at the end of the growing season to make sure they meet these requirements.

Caring For Grapes

Depending on weather conditions, grapes will need outside protection for leaves in the winter. In many areas, fruit bearing vines will die from winter cold and pierce tips with temperature around 40F or 4C. Grapes make a great subject in the garden for winter pruning. As long as the center of the vines is protected by 35F or 2C, you can prune off the tips.

The best way to protect acclimatized grapes in the winter is to move them to a warmer location such as a greenhouse or polytunnel. In colder areas, you can use a large, clear plastic bag for protection. Prune off the leaves before the temperature drops to about 40F or 4C. Don’t prune off the fruit because it will remain on the vine through the winter on certain varieties.

Sun

Grapes do better when they're exposed to as much sun as possible, without getting burned. They also do well in cool areas. In humid, hot areas, they often don't produce. So in areas like Arizona, grapes don't flourish.

California, on the other hand, is a premium grape growing region as they have good sun exposure and lower humidity levels.

One other thing to consider is that grape varieties that do well further away from the equator often need frost some time during their growing season in order to produce well.

Temperature

Temperature is the key. If you live in an area that has a cold winter, your best bet is to grow your grapes in a hoop house or greenhouse. This allows the vines to enter and stay in full dormancy mode, which is critical for the first few years. No winter pruning is necessary, either. If you live in an area that doesn't get very cold, you are best off training your plants to an arbor and holding off on fall pruning. However, if you live in a warmish area, like Central Florida or Southern California, you can prune your vines at the end of the growing season. You still will probably want to train the vines to an arbor, however, to give them some shade from the sun.

Another key element in grape production is to keep the vines pruned. Many vines quickly become extremely long and can reach about 20 feet in length. The bottom of the vine needs to be firmed in and the upper part of the vines needs to be pruned. With clusters of grapes that are heavy with fruit, you shouldn't have a problem with breakage.

Watering

The general rule for watering grapes is that you should only water the soil, not the vine. Watering the vine can lead to fungal and virus diseases. If the vine gets too wet, it can lead to the development of the fungus Botryosphaeria dothidea, which can cause a blackening of the leaves and result in malformed fruit. You can water the vine by watering roughly the same amount of time the vine stays soaked. If you notice the vine starting to droop, you can water further.

The amount of water you should add will always be variable, depending on how warm or rainy it is, but you should always have your soil remain damp at all times. The best way to figure out whether you need to water your vine is to check the top one inch of your soil for moisture.

The marks for watering your vine should be the same as measuring out your watering. Do this by filling a one gallon bucket with water. Pour the water out of the bucket and try to stop it with your palm. Level off the water with the bottom of the bucket. This is your measuring point. If the top one inch of your soil is wetter than the mark, you need to water more.

Soil

Grapes need soil with adequate drainage so they do not become waterlogged and rot. The soil pH should be 6.4 to 6.8. The gravel inside the hole provides good drainage.

Fertilizing

One of the best things you can do to increase the amount of fruit you harvest from your grapes is to fertilize them. While it may seem like an extra money drain, it may pay for itself in fruit production. This is especially true of vines that have a tendency to produce all flower buds and no fruit.

The most common way to fertilize grape vines is with iron sulfate. This can be purchased in liquid or powder form. You can apply it to the ground or to the vines.

Generally speaking, the liquid form of iron sulfate is the better choice because it will produce better results.

The best time to apply iron sulfate to the grape vines is in the fall. This allows the most time for the vines to absorb the fertilizer before the spring growing seasons.

The amount of iron sulfate that you will need to apply varies from grape vine to grape vine. It also depends on the type of iron sulfate product that you use.

The general rule of thumb is that the product should be applied every month or so.

While it might be tempting to treat your grapes with iron sulfate right after you harvest them, it is important to avoid this practice. Iron sulfate can interfere with the normal cycle of the grape vines. You will also want to avoid fertilizing in the spring.

Pruning & Training Grapes

Over the years I gradually perfected my techniques for growing grapes around my home. I have shared these techniques with fellow grape growers around the world through my YouTube channel. I even studied Art in College to help me illustrate everything I know about growing grapes, with the most color illustrations to date, in this book.

They have always worked for me and I hope they do the same for you. Please leave a review for this book and let me know what you liked about it, what you didn't like about it, and anything you think that could be improved. I will take that information and put it to good use in future works with your interest in mind.

I want to again thank you very much for downloading and reading my book. If you are able to do so please post a review on Amazon. It really does help me out a ton! Thank you very much,

Propagation

Grape vines are a bit unlike other plants. They can not grow on their own. Their roots are not strong enough to hold to big a root system. They also need their roots to stay cool to be healthy. These things mean that if your grape vine is not at your destination when it is planted, it is going to have some trouble. That is why you need to plant it as soon as you can get there.

But do not just plant it and forget about it. You have to prepare it for the coming winter. There are a few things you need to take into account for this.

First of all, you need to watch out for the vine to go into its dormancy. If you see it does, eat it. If you do not want to eat it, this is not a big deal. It will not hurt the plant. All it means is that the foliage will come off. But, that is not always a bad thing. You get to take off the leaves that have tasted bad (hopefully not all of them) and it gives you an opportunity to prune the vines as you see fit.

Transplanting Grapes

Staking is one of the most efficient and effective means of growing grapes. Here I will explain ten different types of support and how to attach them to the vine. I will elaborate on when you should use each type of support as well as any challenges that might arise while using each one.

Remember that the type of support you choose is only as important as it's management becomes. You need to manage each method of support in your garden from the moment you put it in place.

Upright stakes

The upright is a well known and often used method of support.

The main reason people use upright supports is that they require relatively little maintenance.

A variety of diameters are available. Make sure that the stakes are slightly smaller then the root structure that will grow on them. Inspect them monthly. Replace as needed.

Upright with multiple stakes

Multiple stakes placed in an upright fashion.

Loose Stakes

Loose stakes are one of the more hands on methods of support.

Loose stakes require monthly maintenance. If they are leaning or loose, the vines can be damaged. A good rule of thumb is to inspect the stakes at least twice a month

Make sure to use one that is slightly taller then the growth you intend and put it in place before the vine grows over it.

Harvesting and Storing Grapes

Don’t let the “semi-drupe” on your grapevine fool you. Grapes are a fruit and among the easiest to grow. Simply plant the seeds, wait a couple of years for it to grow and develop, and pick the fruit once it is ripe.

Of course, there are some things you can do to make the experience more successful.

To get the most fruit, you should harvest grapes by hand as soon as the grapes reach the top of the cluster.

If the grapes have the means to hang, rather than bothering with a ladder to reach the fruit, pull the whole vine. Pulling the vine will harvest the fruit and actually help the plant grow more fruit clusters next year.

If the fruit should fall to the ground, rather than letting them stay on the vine.

During the winter months, make sure you are protecting your grapevines from the weather. The best way to do this is to bury the trunk and foliage of the vine.

Determining Ripeness

Knowing when the time comes to harvest the grape-harvests will vary greatly based on variety, location, number of days until first frost, and quite a few other factors. Managing your grapes will vary greatly as well. You will need different amounts of grapes for jam, juice, wine, raisins, etc. You will also need to manage your harvest based on a ton of other variables.

Frost is the enemy in most cases. If temperatures remain above 75 degrees, the vines will keep producing fruit into the late fall. This is likely great for your wine, but can produce a squash in the kitchen if you don’t want to stand out in the cold plucking every grape, like a madman.

As the weather turns and the days shorten, your fingers should be going along, collecting grapes from your vine. Until they do, you need to conserve a bit. Pick early and light. This will help to minimize prevent frost damage. Use as many varieties as possible to prolong the season.

Lastly, be reasonable about what you want (and the realistic amount of grapes you can process). If you're indoors, you can't make raisins out of your grapes, bust can you make juice and jam.

Harvesting Grapes

If you planted a grape vine and got a bounty of grapes, now is the time to harvest them. Fruits lose flavor and nutrients quickly once they are off the vine, so harvest when you are ready to eat and enjoy.

Other reasons to harvest grapes as opposed to leaving them to rot on the vine include having a clean yard and not having to fight with neighbors over ripe fruit!

Not every variety of grape vine produces the same number of grapes per vine, but most grape vines produce 1/3 to 1/2 of a pound of fruit per vine to be eaten fresh. Some are better for making wine or juice while others are better for fresh eating or drying to make raisins. Most grape types produce the same amount of fruit per vine, but some produce better flavored grapes than others.

Harvesting grapes is one of the simplest and least dangerous garden activities. Simply place a small ladder or step stool under the grapevine, pick each grape as it ripens, and put it into a container.

You won’t even need to harvest the grapes off the ground if you are organized and harvest in a timely manner and have a container handy. Most backyard grape vines produce eight cups of grapes. Some produce less and a few produce more.

Save the raisins for later. Raisins are dried grapes, and you can make them at home just like Grandma did.

Making Raisins

How to make a raisin from your own grapes can give you a nice reserve of healthy snacks for the family. These fruits are delicious and nutritious. So, why not utilize your land?

If you're wondering how to get a lot of fruit from your grapevines, the investment is low and any space in your yard can be utilized as a perfect growing space.

The young shoots usually appear at around spring. Even though these shoots are really tasty, they need to be harvested around the end of the summer to improve the fruit output from the grapevines.

How to make raisins out of the grapes on your own is rather simple. It's about picking the grapes in the fall, washing them and drying them in the sun until they are shriveled and wrinkled. You should be able to see the raisin forming. If you're lucky, you'll have a supply of this healthy and power packed snack.

As you harvest and dry the grapes, you have a multitude of options about which you can use them for. They can be used to feed to your animals, giving them the vitamins and minerals they need. You can place the sun dried grapes near your fire place where you can chew on them to your heart's content. You can also munch on them after dinner. It's delicious!

Storing Fresh Grapes

Fresh grapes have a very short shelf life. For example, red grapes can go from perfectly ripe and sweet to raisin-like in less than three days. They are also quite perishable, and once they begin to rot, they will spoil quickly. The key to enjoying your grapes for as long as possible is to keep them as fresh and cool as possible before storage.

When you bring your grapes into your home, you need to remove them from their container and wash them in cool water. This is quite important because it will remove any dirt or diseases from the grape stems. This step will also shorten the time you need to store your grapes.

If your grapes have stems and you want to store them that way, don’t wash them. Otherwise, you’ll make them prematurely dilute. Instead, use a dry paper towel to rub the grapes clean. Alternatively, you can try cutting the stems off if you’d prefer to set them in a bowl.

If you aren’t going to use them immediately, cut the grapes off the stems. However, don’t cut them all off at once. Instead, cut them off as you go because it’ll be easier for you to consume them when you want to.

Preserving Grapes

The primary benefit to growing grapes in a home garden is for making wine. Whether you're brand new to growing grapes, or have been growing them for years, maximizing the amount of grapes you harvest is important. While there are tons of different tips for optimizing the amount of fruit you get from your grapes, here are the best:

  • Select the best grapes to grow: To get the most amount of grapes you'll want to select the vines that are the most productive. The best type of grapes to grow is your local favorite, which will likely vary by region. Examples of some of the best grapes to grow, are Concord, Niagara, Seyval Blanc, Chambourcin, Frontenac, or Norton.
  • Gather only the ripe grapes: In order to get the maximum amount of grapes, you'll want to pick only ripe grapes (or the skins will be tough), so make sure to study your variety's maturity date so you can be sure to harvest fruit in time for the optimal amount of flavor and ripeness.
  • Put a sweet touch on your grapes: In order to get an extra sweet grape-tasting fruit, harvest at the end of the perfect ripeness window, and then give the grapes a 1-2 week rest before eating or fermenting.

Troubleshooting Grape Problems

Grapes are one of the most rewarding fruits you can grow in your garden. There are a wide range of types of grapes, either domestic or from other parts of the world, that can be grown successfully in almost any region of the country. Each fruit will have a different growing window, as well. California is also a great source of grapes, and some species have the reputation for being more resistant to natural pests and disease, as well. Growing grapes is not something to be afraid of, the process itself is as easy as growing berries to the point that you feel that growing grapes is a hobby on par with fishing in terms of ease.

The reason that most people are afraid to start growing grapes is that you have to wait up to thirty years to see results, which can be one of the reasons why so many are scared off. When you are ready to greet them, however, you will find that grape vines make excellent additions to your yard and garden. Even if you want to grow your grapes for the grapes themselves, there are plenty of reasons to do so. You can grow grapes in your backyard or inside your garden, but you should have both areas ready and available for whatever might happen.

Early Bud Break

The grapevine is the only fruit crop that drops its leaves in the fall. This signals the grapevine to go dormant for the winter.

During this period most vines go into an annual rest period. The vine is basically shut down and stops growing.

To get good crops of grapes it is important to keep your vines in an active, productive state. You need to have a grapevine that is growing all year. This is called killing back the vine.

If you let your grapevine grow naturally you will get what will seem like an unending supply of leaves. The vines will reach the top of the trellis and stop growing.

For optimum production, the grapevine should have something to keep it in an active state. There are three ways to do this.

Option 1: Pruning

The first thing to keep in mind is that thick, healthy vines produce better than thin vines. When you prune thick vines you get more buds, more possible buds, and more potential fruit.

Another benefit of keeping vines thick is that you can let them grow through the summer and then prune them back in the fall. This is an excellent way to keep the vine fit and healthy. It also allows you to experiment with summer pruning without worries that you will stop production in June.

Coulure

Coulure is the name for a technique used by some grape growers. It's a great way to produce a lot of fruit from your vine, but it requires careful pruning and training.

Your main goal with coulure is to get all the bunches of grapes to one side of the vine. This can be done in just about any type of vine-training system. It involves a careful pruning process to remove a few of the laterals as the vine grows.

When you think about how little grape the plant needs to set a bunch, this is really quite ingenious. The vine is more productive!

This can be helpful if you have limited space. Or if the vine is in an awkward spot for picking. You may find that you get fewer grapes per vine with this process, but with large amounts of grapes overall. You also need to be prepared to enjoy the work of watching the vine.

There are other ways to increase the yield of grapes. You can get extra bunches by removing leaves from areas where grapes are set to grow. Removing more leaf area allows more light to enter the vine. And that can help the vine to produce more bunches. This can be done by removing some leaves from the middle and bottom of the vine.

Millerandage

The martinaudit numbers of seedless grape runners/spurs that, contain no pulp and have a reasonable sugar to acid ratio are quite low. Such grape contains a lot of seeds and is very high in acidity.

There really is only one explanation for the low numbers of runners; you need to prune the vine correctly.

One vine that I pruned produced significantly more fruit than the other vine which I did not. That is partially because the vine lets a lot of runners back on the ground and that is waste fruit. The second vine pruned more heavily and it has a lot more fruit on the vine.

It's not that long before the grapes turn color.

Make sure that you have harvesting equipment (a basket or a string and a hook) because, if you miss a harvest, there is a big chance that a bird or a squirrel will pick the fruit.

Pests

A grape vine is a finicky eater. Insects can be a real threat to a vine. Many grape varieties are susceptible to devastating attacks by the moth called grape berry moths. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae enter the leaves and fruit and eat the buds and young grapes. Inspect leaves and clusters for reddish brown waxy secretions. If you see fruiting bodies, like a black egg shell, you have a problem. Spray with an insecticide labeled for grape vines and check daily to make sure you haven’t missed any.

You can also use beneficial insects. Encourage parasitic wasps or tiny black ladybugs that feed on moths. These insects will naturally keep pests in check. Plant flowers that provide habitat for predators of pests. Purple coneflower, bee balm, and many members of the mustard family attract beneficial insects.

Root Aphids

Root aphids are sap-sucking insects that feed off of your grapevine roots. These pests usually make themselves known in the early spring time by showing up on the surface of your landscape bark, called mulch. As the aphids feed, their feeding will cause young bark to turn yellow and later orange, which can appear to be drought stressed bark. This is not drought stressed bark. This is the feeding of the root aphid.

To treat root aphids, you want to spray the infested mulch and soil with an insecticide that’s labeled for the treatment of root aphids. These insecticides are generally systemic, which means that they will need to be applied at least two weeks before the target insects emerge.

Japanese Beetles

A Pest That Devastate Vines.

Adult Japanese beetles are about 1/2" long, coppery brown and hump-backed, with a pointed snout and a dark Y-shaped marking on each wing cover. Their grubs look like fat, white caterpillars with tiny legs. A typical adult female-please keep in mind, there really is no typical beetle-lays up to 60 eggs that she deposits in the soil around the vine. After about 10 days, the eggs hatch into grubs that feed on the roots for about 60 days. When they emerge as adult beetles and have bred, your grapes are fair game.

It's no wonder the Japanese beetles want your grapes. They are a good source of protein, which is what the beetle most craves. They also taste great to the beetles, and the color of grapes, which is similar to the color of certain flowers, also attracts them.

Black Vine Weevil

Fiercellus pini is a wood-boring weevil that makes its way into a grape vine and attacks the main rootlets of grapevines and other plants. They especially like to infest the Utah grape (a vine that is native to the Western United States).

The larvae of the black vine weevil are the real problems; the adults are rarely seen by humans. They bore into a grape vine and create a soft, white silk-like substance to build their nest. Larvae will bore through the vine and live below the soil line for the entire summer – eating the root system of the vine. They don’t just target the grape plant themselves, they also heavily target the roots of other companion plants like roses and will happily chomp through their root system as well. Too many larvae can kill a grape vine, and if the damage isn’t discovered until autumn, the larvae may overwinter as adult weevils.

As an adult, they are only an eighth of an inch long, a large they are a quarter of an inch long, and a large female can lay over 500 eggs.

High heat will kill the weevil, but the long-term solution for prevention is simply to move to another area, hopefully one that is too hot for the weevil to live.

European Grapevine Moth

Grapevines can be a great fruit tree choice, as they are extremely tolerant of a great many things, other than the European grapevine moth, that is. There are some methods of controlling grapevine moths, along with the other negative grapevine pests. However, it is often easier said than done.

Grapes grow in the wild all over the world, but most commonly in Europe and Asia. Grapes are hardier than most types of fruit trees, although they are susceptible to a few conditions. Grapevines providing a good amount of fruit is important to many gardeners and grape lovers, as is the possibility of growing grapes from the grapevine.

Grapevines grow berries! Yep, it is actually a fruit and not a vegetable. Grapes range in size from tiny to massive. There are hundreds of types of grapes. The European grapevine moth, is an example of one of the negative grapevine pests. Although the moths are not a true moth, they are often mistaken for a moth.

The European grapevine moth is a type of butterfly and actually looks like a moth when it is in its defense posture because it has two wings that look like a moth.

No matter what you call them, the European grapevine moths are the culprits behind the destruction of many grapevines over the years.

Parasitic Nematodes

One of the last things a grape grower wants to see is the vine being attacked by pesky grape pod gall wasps. In the US, there are larger and smaller varieties of the innocuous looking parasite. The larger variety has been seen to cause upwards of 65% loss in vine yield.

The best way to keep nematodes from killing your vines and fruit is to get rid of the infected vines before they spread. In addition to the trend in chemical-free agriculture in which people are turning, there are very effective natural herbicides that will kill off the nematodes in the soil.

Your best bet to prevent the spread of the nematodes is to remove the infected vines and burn them. You can also use the herbicide Milestone, which should be applied with caution and according to the instructions to kill off the parasitic nematodes.

Birds

The first step to growing grapes is to plant a male and female vine. It may seem like a strange thing to plant and even stranger to have a gardener instruct you to get one. So, are they a necessary expense? In short, no. You can plant a lone female and coax it to bear fruit. They are worth the money, however, to produce a better yield and a quicker harvest.

The female plant will keep all the fruit it produces on the vine. The male plant also has fruit, but they drop to the ground if the vine is not pollinated. The male plant's fruit is also only good for juice for alcohol or for vinegar. If you like to eat the fruit, you have to plant male and female plants together.

When you are purchasing the plants, the seller or the plants may be listed as “male”. Unless you are extremely experienced with grape growing, you may not be able to differentiate a male plant. This is ok, just get whatever the seller has available. There is no guarantee you will have a male and a female plant to make your own “seedless” grapes.

Diseases

Insects, and Pests that Destroy Grapes.

There are many diseases, insects, and pests that threaten the health of the grapevine. Here are just some of the more common enemies of your valuable crop:

Diseases

{1}. Botrytis – A bunch rot and decay fungus that will also infect the vine. The purple grey fungus will spread to the berries, turning them a grey color and the inside of the skin will become rotten. Once this happens, the berries will fall off the vine early, or in severe cases, the vine itself will be killed.
{2}. Powdery mildew – This fungal disease will attack the leaves of the grapevine. You will see its white powder all over the leaves and stems. It will also infect the grapes, destroying their ability to produce good fruit, or the fruit could be completely destroyed, rotted, or die on the vine.
{3}. Verticillium Wilt – This problem will eventually kill the vine. The fungus will leave the roots of the vine, travel upwards moving into the trunk, and eventually infect the leaves. The leaves will yellow, before dying.

Botrytis Cinerea

Botrytis Cinerea is a fungus that can infect grapes. This is most likely to occur during humid and warm conditions.

The fungus appears as a yellow powder. It will almost immediately start destroying the grape. If that wasn’t enough, the fungus can also affect the quality of the grapes. The fruit will look bad and it will appear to have gray mold.

While this might seem like a difficult problem to fix, it’s actually fairly easy. If you’re paying attention to how the grapes are doing, you’ll notice signs of the fungal infection early, and you can act fast.

The first thing you’ll want to do is remove any grapes that are affected. The fruit must be removed and not composted. Another option is to cut the affected cluster of grapes off from the vine, but that’s usually not possible without multiple clusters being affected.

After you’ve removed the infected fruit, you must destroy it, and wipe the entire vine down with rubbing alcohol. This will stop the spread of the disease. It will also destroy any spores that are attached to the fruit, and they won’t infect other close-by grapes.

Fusarium spp.

While there are many many varieties of grapes, to which I have devoted a whole separate post, almost all are available in both table and wine types. While wine grapes are a completely different story, the hassle and ways to deal with powdery mildew in table grapes are the same. Due to the ease of propagation, Powdery Mildew is a big problem with grapes.

Due to the ease of propagation, Powdery Mildew is a big problem with grapes. Powdery mildew is present in the soil and can be transmitted to the plant. Spores are transmitted by wind, water, and more. When colonies of mildew come in contact with your grapes, it will attack them, causing the leaves to collapse and the fruit to develop brown spots and fall off. It will kill your grapevines from the inside out, starting by attacking the roots. The roots will be brown and develop a thick outer skin. This makes it impossible for them to draw water and nutrients.

The best defense against powdery mildew is to grow resistant varieties that are labeled organic. The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) lists the following varieties as resistant to Downy or Powdery Mildew or both:

Powdery Mildew

Grapes are very susceptible to mold and mildew. Powdery mildew loves to attack the new growth tips of the vines. This means that it is vital to keep those areas clean and free from strong sunlight.

One way to do this, is to prune the plants early in the morning when the vines are a little damp and before the sun is too strong.

As for preventing powdery mildew from settling in your grapes, you can clip off any affected parts and spray a suitable plant protectant on the vines.

Propagation Materials

Take grafting and cutting very seriously as they are how you will be able to propagate your wines and create nutrients for your grapes. Cloning new vines is the best way to do this as it will help you create the same flavors and produce that you enjoyed in previous years.

After you have uncovered your grafting and cutting tools, you'll need to find the right grape vines to clone from. Take your time with this process as it will pay off further down the road as you begin to settle into a pattern for propagating new plants and vines. Be sure that you watch out for "suckers" as they can be a bother when trying to take cuttings.

Black Rot

A bacterial rot caused by Erwinia amylovora. Fruit is often covered with yellowish-brown, foul-smelling lesions (as seen in the picture). Fruit and shoots can die. Tends to occur during warmer than average weather.

Grapevine Fanleaf Virus

If you want to grow grapes on the vine, one of the most important factors to take into account is the grapevine fanleaf virus (GVFLV). This virus is spread by a tiny aphid, and the only way to prevent it is to either grow free-standing rootstock, grow a resistant variety, or use very careful virus-testing pruning practices.

The symptoms of GVFLV are tiny mottled purplish or reddish-brown spots on the leaves of the vine. These leaves fall off, giving the vine a sparse look. Some vines will recover, but others will not.

The worst part of it all is that you never know if your grape vine will survive the infection. GVFLV-infected vines can be grown and maintained for years before showing symptoms, and some varieties are resistant.