How to grow a small home vineyard

To grow a garden vineyard, you need plants that are tough, powerful and ready to live where the grapes can endure the Front Range.

Obtaining full harvests from grapes requires five decades or longer, yet few European wine grapes (Vitis vinifera) are hardy for extended years here. If you are blessed to have a protected website, try merits or muscats; the rest of us will have greater success with hybrid grapes which are hardier.

Select a sunny location with well-draining soil, avoiding areas that pool spring frost once the shoots are only emerging. South to southwest facing slopes are perfect.

If you are planting several blossoms in rows, run them south to take advantage of more sun across the vines, and distance them seven feet apart.

For a Mediterranean appearance, grapes can be trained to arbor for shade and beautiful decoration, particularly if combining red, white and purple fruiting plants. But because the vines are not pruned as frequently, fruit production is significantly less than those grown on wire trellises.

Consider placing in arbors carefully, since there are a couple of drawbacks to them. Anytime you plant a juicy, sugary fruit to dangle over seating areas you risk guests that sit checking for fruit. Birds can be problematic and should any wildlife find the fruit; you are in for a struggle.

When the vine begins to grow, pick the stronger of the two and prepare it by linking it to the surface of the leg as it grows upwards. Nip off the tip of another shoot, and any other side shoot, to induce the plant’s energies into the main vine.