Vine to Table: The Art of Grape Growing
Grape growing has much history, tradition, and culture. There’s an art to growing grapes and because of that, many don’t realize that growing grapes in the city is an option. Enter: vine to table. It’s not as challenging as may have been imagined. Living in a small space doesn’t necessarily place restrictions on growing these incredible vines. Harvesting grapes from vine to table in a backyard, balcony, or rooftop allows for further local and organic food production. Grapes are actually a great option for the urban gardening as this harvest can be made into juice, jellies, and jam and our favorite – wine.
The rewards of vine-to-table grape growing are numerous starting with their beauty and the production of food.
- Flavorful fruit
- Edible leaves
- Intentional shade spaces and privacy
- Intense fall foliage colors ranging from yellows and gold’s, browns and bronze, and even reds
- Colorful low-hanging fruit in red and green
Defining Viniculture, Viticulture, and Vintner
Viticulture is the science of grape growing, the study and the production of grapes.
Viniculture is the same as viticulture but for grapes that are specific to wine making.
Vintner is the person who makes wine. They understand the science of wine making.
Vine to Table: Grape Harvest
Grapes grown with care, that are well-trained, and have an established root system all make up a healthy vine. Doing your backyard harvest should be straight forward. One thing to remember is that the birds will start after your grapes so be sure to take preventive measures to ensure you get to reap the benefits of your crop.
If you plan on making wine with your grapes you will need more information on brix, pH, and sugar levels in your grapes. Picking your fruit a few days too late is better than picking a few days too early.
Organic grapes are delicious and lead to making organic wine which is even more divine.
Tips for Growing Grapes in the City
Here are some great Urban Viniculture tips for those who want to try growing their own grapes but aren’t sure where to start.
Growing grapes in small or restricted spaces is easy. Depending on the amount of space, grapes can be left unpruned or pruned. Because grapes can be grown evenly in a small space, it’s possible to grow a grape vine on a patio or deck, or even in an outdoor office area. One vine can be grown in as little as one cubic yard of soil with a small amount of direct sunlight.
Choose your planter and/or location by following the following tips.
- Check your hardiness zone to see what grapes can be grown in your location.
- When choosing your site to plant, ensure you have a sunny spot and prepare it for excellent drainage. Air circulation plays a factor in the health of your grapes but gale-force winds can damage your crop and your soil can dry out quicker. Extreme winds will uproot the vines’ root systems which act as the support.
- Test your soil. If your soil is compromised we recommend using soil amendments. This is only precautionary as grapes aren’t too fussy about the soil, with a preference of slightly acidic soil and a pH of 6.
- Plant your grape vine in early spring and prune off any broken roots.
- Plant in a hole large enough to give the roots plenty of room to grow. Set the plant at the same height as it grew at the nursery.
- Prune to a single strong stem leaving only two buds.
- For the first you will only need approximately two feet of support. A more permanent structure will be required by the second year.
- Yearly pruning depends on the type of grape though airflow pruning is encouraged to prevent fungus.
- Mildew can threaten your plant during lengthy wet weather. Encourage airflow through the vines by annual pruning.
- Remove fallen leaves and weed as needed to avoid attracting insects or disease.
Can you think of any other fruit-bearing vine that has so many qualities and takes up so little space that you would rather have? It’s time for more vine to table growing in small urban spaces.