Vineyard Preparation

The land we cleared to the southeast of the house is a gentle south-facing slope that should work well for growing grapes and other fruit crops. Our vineyard will consist of four rows each 77 feet long with grape vines spaced 7 feet apart, giving enough space for a total of 44 vines. Grape rows are typically spaced about 8 feet apart but we spaced ours 18 feet apart to leave enough room for rows of fruiting shrubs in between. Rather than the monoculture that is typical of most vineyards, ours will be a diverse polyculture of grapes, raspberries, blackberries, currants, bush cherries, aronia, honeyberries, blueberries, asparagus etc. We’ll also grow perennial flowers among the fruiting shrubs in order to attract beneficial insect populations.

May 21, 2011
After clearing the brush and trees from the area to the southeast of the house, we began turning the area into a garden. The first step was to spread out the huge pile of wood chips that came from all the brush we cleared.

After a long day of spreading wood chips, we managed to cover the whole vineyard area and a path up through the new garden area to the south of the house. The first photo below was taken standing about 50 feet south of the house, looking southeast down toward the vineyard area. The second photo shows the whole vineyard-to-be, with the deer fence posts in the background.

May 22, 2011
Today we set the posts for the trellises that will support the grape vines. We set 24 posts in all, and the auger on the back of the tractor helped a lot. Each post is 10 feet long and set 3 feet in the ground so they’re 7 feet high. The top support wire of the trellis will be 6 feet off the ground, and we may run another wire up at the top of the posts to help hold up bird netting if the birds start harvesting our grapes for us!

The first photo below shows the view from the south of the vineyard, looking northward up the hill. The second photo shows the view from the northwest corner looking southeast back down the hill. Each trellis row runs north-south and consists of 6 posts. The pair of posts at the end of each row are only 7 feet apart so that we can place a diagonal brace between them to support the tension of the trellis wires. The other posts are 21 feet apart and will have 3 vines between each pair of posts.