Hello grape fans!

Here is how to lay out your vineyard for optimum production, pest control, grape coloring and for best airflow through the vines.
Spacing:
I get lots of question about the spacing of the vines (in the row and between the rows). Now, there isn’t really something like wrong spacing between vines, but there are a few factors to take into consideration when planing your grape vine.
For bunch grapes, the most commonly used spacing is 7.5 to 8 feet between vines and 8 to 12 feet between rows. If you use implements like tractor and mowers in your vineyards, you need to plant the rows wide enough for the implements to be able to move between the rows.

On my farm, I use Slanted Trellis systems, and therefore I row widths of 3 meters (10 feet) rows – remember this is for bunch grapes. Here is a picture from the Complete Grape Growers Guide.

Another big factor that will determine the row spacing is the way you train your grape vine. Using a Four Cane Kniffen training system, takes up less space between the rows than say a Geneva Double Curtain training system, therefore the rows don’t need to be as wide.
Geneva double curtain

Four Cane Kniffen

When you look at how vigorous your variaty grows, this will also influence your decision on row width. Vigorous varieties should be planted further appart between vines and the rows should be a bit wider as well.

The way you prune your grape vine will also determine the spacing between vines. When you prune with canes, you must plant your vines far enough apart (at least 8 feet) so that you can twine the canes on the trellis wires without overlapping the adjacent vine’s canes.

Row direction:

The effect row direction has on the productivity is one of the most common mistakes “newbie” commercial and home grape growers make.

When planning your grape vine, you must always strive to expose as many leaves to direct sunlight as possible. This will ensure optimum photosynthesis, optimum pest control and good coloring of grapes. The prevailing wind direction is also important, especially in wet, humid climates. Planting the grape vine parallel with the prevailing winds, will slow down the wind speed and the evaporation of water from the leaves will be much slower, increasing the chances of diseases.

When you plan to establish your vineyard on a hill, with a slope, you normally plant on the contour of the hill. This is the best way to prevent erosion during heavy rains, BUT planting a vineyard on the contour of a hill, will slow down the movement of cold air through the vineyard, and the danger of cold air getting trapped (like a dam) in the vineyard could lead to cold damage of the vines. Be sure to channel the air out of the vineyard by constructing roads and dead ground at the lowest parts of your vineyard. A bush of forest close to your vineyard, could have the same affect, make sure to funnel the cold air out of the vineyard.

I hope this clears out some questions about row and vine spacing, and some questions about where to grow your grape vine.

For more information on growing grapes, get your copy of the Complete Grape Growers Guide today!

Have a grape (great) day!

Danie

www.my-grape-vine.com

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