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3 messages
29/05/2013 at 10:18

I have a grape vine, 'Vitis Sauvignon' which I bought at the end of the season last year - it has had it's overwintering in the summerhouse, and now is looking very healthy in terms of new leaves and growth.  It looks like a plant grafted onto a rootstock. I've always wanted a vine, but know little about them, in terms of do's and don'ts.  My vine is potted, and I have moved it to a sunny sheltered location - i have put up a large trellis and I'm watching it grow - my question is, to those who have attempted this before - what type and how regular should you feed it, will it have grapes this year, and  when should you re-pot it, as it seems to be a bit top heavy? 

30/05/2013 at 18:47

What size pot is it in and how old is it? I guess that it is Sauvignon Blanc, a white grape rather than Cabernet Sauvignon which is red. Not the easiest grape to try in the UK as it is a late ripening variety and will need that sunny sheltered position.

Grapes grow in very poor soil which isn't much good for anything else so don't be tempted to feed it often. You will only create a monster as it will respond by producing lots of lush growth, up to 5 metres a year.

You can expect grapes in the third or fourth year but should limit the number of bunches in the early years, only one or two per plant in the first fruiting year. Get it trained early to get the best out of it. If the trellis is wide enough (2 metres minimum) try the double Guyot system. Sounds complicated but basically you have 3 shoots produced each year which you train the following year. Two shoots go horizontally left and right and one goes straight up. The horizontal shoots produce vertical side shoots and this is where the fruit comes from. Grapes fruit on new wood. The vertical main shoot is used to produce three side shoots which become next year's horizontal and vertical shoots and replace this year's.

You might also have to thin the bunches to get decent grapes, remove about half of the grapes in a bunch when they are about pea sized. This gives you bigger grapes, less congestion and less disease.

Treat the pot every year for vine weevil, use nematodes not chemicals.

05/06/2013 at 22:43

Thanks, steephill - I knew there must be a vine expert out there!  Some brilliant advice - when you look at websites, some of it is useful, some not, but what you say makes good sense even down to thinning the grapes, which I hadn't even thought of.   It is Sauvignon Blanc and I bought it at the end of last year. It is in the sunniest part of the garden with lots of shelter, and I've just put up a large trellis to accommodate it.  It stands about a metre tall (at the moment), and is in a pot approx 10 inch diameter, which makes it look top heavy, although it seems healthy enough. I hadn't even considered vine weevil either; I don't use chemicals at all in the garden, nematodes on order!  Thank you so much - I look forward to the grapes!

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