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Grow Your Own Wine


Mmmm… Interesting point on the clone type - I shall find out… All of the vines had wax covering the top as well as the graft - I guess it was easier to dip each one in rather than trying to coat just the grafted joint. Eventually, the wax is likely to perish and fall away anyway, I’d have thought.


The wax is to keep the joint together and importantly to stop it drying out, in the past twine was used wrapped around the joint but with large numbers involved warm wax coatings are much more effecient, grafting paint was another method and today there are permeable tapes that do the same job.
All will naturally disintegrate.

I don’t know why peterm is having a go at me, I put up those easy to follow examples for that reason they are typical and easy, I don’t think anyone with half a dozen grape vines needs a university study document for what they are doing in the garden.

I am fully aware about the different techniques including bush vines used in training of vines and said so in my comment, and am fully qualified to say anything on the subject that may be relevant from my own background and through association so why the snipe, I was agreeing with what you were saying, strange ?


Thanks @cerberus - I don’t think that @peterm’s comment should be taken as having a go at you … sometimes a comment can be read as more direct that it was intended. :slight_smile:

I think the issue Peter raised is reasonable since WineFolly is very good at creating attractive content about wine for a general audience, but she is a sommelier and as far as I know has no specific experience about vine growing. Videos like hers (I’ve not watched it yet) are probably a good introduction, but if someone is going to take practical advice, then I’m sure there are great resources out there. I’ve found the same on the stuff I am growing in the garden (I’ve not dared try grapes).

I’m starting to wonder whether there are enough grapes being grown by Society members to make our own version of this!?


I was visiting a winery in Italy that is also a nursery for the local grape variety (Turbiana - name the region without looking it up!!)

Here’s my artistic photo of the wax and young leaves:


I have a vine in my back garden, its been there for a fair while, went MENTAL last year (moved into the house last year but didn’t have time to tend it) - it pretty much covered the whole of the back fence and I am pretty sure I could hear it grow lol. Produced a fair few bunches of grapes but didn’t know when to harvest.

Might post up a photo of the leaves as I have no clue what type it is, I did prune it back last year and am trying to keep it under control a bit this year!


@cerberus I was not having a snipe at you. I am very sorry that it came across that way.

I’ve noticed that we two often disagree on matters vinous, and I’ve thought that discussion adds to the warp and weft of this forum, showing that there is more than one view on most (every) things to do with wine.

And I’ve enjoyed our discussions

If I was having a snipe at anything, it was winefolly. Lovely graphics but questionable reliability. I won’t say more on a public forum.

Anyway, I owe you a glass of wine when we eventually meet.


But will you agree on which wine? :wine_glass::wink:


They are weeds and they do grow vigorously and fast. For grape growing they need to be pruned so the energy goes into the grapes rather than longer canes.

Grapes are ripe when they change colour (black/red or dark grapes, translucent for green grapes), when the pedicel (small stem that links the grape to the bunch) turns dark and – most of all when the grape seeds turn dark brown.

Some wine grapes are picked unripe for their acidity.

In years past wine grapes were picked as soon as they contained enough sugar to produce sufficient alcohol, now most wait until physiological ripeness, i.e the grape is fully ripe. One reason why wines have higher alcohol than in the past.


Also often referred to in the literature as phenolic ripeness, when the tannins are not bitter any more.


I think it is better with white to test for sugar levels, otherwise you may have to indulge in adding sugar to the must (chaptilisation).
Red grapes you can go by eye.


Let’s not get things out of proportion. One of our community has bought a handful of vines to experiment, and comments received are designed to help him get more than one pot of grape jelly after all the effort.
As with all new ventures it is better to look around for advice…which may be conflicting…but get a few general principles, like de-budding and control of excess foliage. Yes there are websites, but care over where they are based. Some US sites seem to work on a constant climate idea, which is not what we have in the U.K.
When I moved my Solaris at 5 years old, without exception the websites and books said that transplanting vines could not be done. A local Vineyard suggested to me that it is possible, and made suggestions. I moved 20 and lost 3.


Very true.

I bought a book on tomato growing after reading a glowing review by James Wong in the RHS magazine. Enthusiastic, beautiful photographs but totaly American, American growing conditions and varieties. The nurseries recommended for getting seeds don’t deal with UK…


I am becoming increasingly sceptical about endorsements.
Organisations like RHS, National Trust, English Heritage seem be endorsing or branding a variety of goods, from garden pots to fruit wines.
Usually at some considerable mark-up from the manufacturers original, often displayed nearby.
Same with book endorsements.


Forget it, The Wine Folly site was simply a basic guide to vine pruning, I explained the rest.

Look forward to that glass (large) with you, you will probably find we have more in common than the reverse, the rest is a matter of opinion and without that as you say it would be a very dull world.

Just as an aside to the whole fruit growing thing, I spent many years back when I was thinking of going into the growing side of horticulture, a short time at West Malling in Kent the research centre, the whole cloning process and the choosing of suitable rootstocks for grafting is very very complex, obviously vines are same hence the Geisenheim research centre and others, it is very complex and unless you have seen how they go about their work the layman has little comprehension of what is behind all fruit growing and that obviously includes vines.

Vines weren’t on the agenda in those days but the principles are identical re aspect soil site etc and the matching to that, but it is not a read or a study for the fainthearted.


That’s really interesting, @cerberus. I have no experience of choosing rootstocks and variety clones for vines, but when I lived up in Scotland, I used to graft (or rather, bud) my own top fruit, using material from Brogdale and Wisley. As you say, there’s a lot of variables. The rootstocks I used to use are not much help on the chalk here.

On vines, you could go quite badly wrong if you choose the wrong rootstock on chalk, I believe.


Indeed, I need to prune the vine to concentrate its energy into fruit rather than growing - just didn’t have time last year and it was already a bit beyond saving when I got to it.


Small world eh? I live in West Malling and was running through the Research Centre earlier this evening!


This gives an insight into the choice and selection of vines and rootstock and the situations and sites for usage, all very involved but a necessary knowledge for winery selection, I’m not sure many will want to plow through much of this, but here you are…and this is not the total but a selective read.



This really has no place here on a wine blog, but as we are talking plants, I thought some of you may like to click through to the small piece I have done on the blog I contribute to regarding the death of in my opinion the finest plantsperson this country has seen, the piece is self explanatory.


Thanks, @cerberus. There’s much interesting stuff in there.