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Grow Your Own Wine


I’ve just planted (this weekend) my little vineyard at the allotment - 3 Chardonnay, 3 Pinot Meunier and 4 Pinot Noir; a classic mix used by Nyetimber, amongst others! The buds were just breaking on the Pinot Meunier - a lovely pink tinge to them - while the Chardonnay were more advanced at about 10cm long. Typically, the PN was still in bud.

The stems were about 10 - 12mm diameter, 15cm long and the grafts well covered in green wax through which the buds burst forth. I have great hopes, at least to be able to make Dolmades! Good grapes will depend very much on training and pruning, I suspect. One problem will be the fertility of the soil - likely to be high and encourage growth rather than fruit.

Give it 5 years and there might be a new fizz to try!


Well… I hope you’ll
Share :rofl::+1:


I’ve been desperate to try this for a while - sadly a lack of garden space is limiting the ambition for a while! Chateau Tooting (and the Urban Wine Company) provide an option of swapping your grapes for bottles of wine if you don’t fancy fermenting it yourself (though that could be half the fun!)


Can I suggest you erect a substantial stake and wire structure now, rather than when you ‘need’ it. I used 3 inch diameter stakes and even then had to reinforce with diagonals later.
Like most beginners I underestimated the structure needed and overestimated the likely yield!


That cooperative system works well. There is (was?) an allotment scheme in Winchester with similar cooperation.
Many of our smaller vineyards use this type of arrangement using contract winemakers. Indeed in TWS list there is often reference to cooperative production in other countries…notably :fr: France.
Wouldn’t it be good if small towns established their own back garden vineyards with a cooperative contract winemaker. You would need, I think, about 500 vines to make it worthwhile.


That looks amazing! Keep us updated on how it all goes!


Surprisingly I have found I still have a bottle of the 2011 National Trust Phoenix blend.
I can recall that our 450 vines produced 800 kg of fruit and the contractor made 806 bottles.


There you go!


When blogging and talking to my friends any non French wine was referred to as foreign.


I can feel a chutney topic emerging here… :yum:


Well, one has to do something with garden grown grapes!


Standard for all newly planted soft fruits is to remove the flower buds in the first year to divert energy into getting the roots down, vines are the same.
This video gives basic pruning and training for the first year, how you decide to support your vines is also a factor in how you grow them, anyone who has visited vineyards will have see umpteen different methods of support all related to vine growth site soil aspect etc.

and another explanation of the early vine treatment.


good luck !


There are many methods of training a vine. You don’t need a trellis, they can be trained free standing (bushvine or head pruned) or up against a single pole (Gobelet) and there are many methods of trellissing, and of pruning for that trellis.

If you have only a few vines your needs are different from commercial vineyards with hundreds or thousands of vines who want to use tractors to spray and machines to harvest.

I’d look for a book on growing grapes in Britain. Our circumstances are different from major wine growing countries. We are at the extreme edge of succesful grape growing.

Stephen Skelton is the expert, he’s an advisor to many UK vineyards and operates one himself but his books maybe have more info than you need and maybe too much aimed at commercial wine growers and maybe too expensive.

I bought a book by Gillian Pearkes - Growing Grapes in Britain: A Handbook for Winemakers. It’s quite old and probably out of date with the info on varieties but some food for thought there and you can get a second hand copy from Amazon for less the £3 including delivery.

If you’re going to rely on websites then use an authorative one, run by someone whose done it themselves and knows what they are talking about rather than winefolly…


@NickP - do you know what clone it is?


@VinoVeritas - Hi Gary, do you know what clone(s) they are?

Also, on your last photo you show new growth that seems to be growing out the waxed area over the graft.

It seems to be above the rootstock but even if it is I’d suggest you don’t want growth breaking the protective wax and it’ll be too low anyway.


I’m afraid not - just “Pinot Noir” according to the label


Of course I’ll share! If I ever make a drinkable fizz, I’ll need to celebrate!:champagne::champagne:


I imagine that this is a common problem. I would normally put up the structure first, but ran out of time to get the bare root plants into their final position. I will take your advice and put in some strong posts and wire to train along. Although that’s a massive subject in itself - so many ways to train a vine! Thanks for the suggestion!


I certainly will! At least these three grape types are good to eat, should that be as far as I get. I suspect we’re looking at 3-5 years before actual fermentation… Always the optimist!


That’s really helpful @cerberus - I shall study carefully!