Soil Management for Growing Grapes and Choosing a Variety for Growing Grapes

Growing grapes is really easy. It can grow in almost all types of soil conditions and climatic conditions, however, this does not mean grapes can grow in deserts and high mountains. When we say all types of soil ad climate, we mean, grapes are easily grown in the areas between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. Even though grapes are easy to grow, growing perfect tasting grapes or grapes for winemaking might be very difficult because the taste of grapes differs according to soil condition and climatic variation. Even though they will grow just about anywhere, grapes will not thrive in particularly boggy, swampy, or waterlogged environments, extremely acidic, or completely alkaline soil, or those that are barren, or void of nutrients.

Soil Types For Growing Grapes

Generally speaking, the ideal soil type for growing good quality grapes is loam with some presence of sand. This type of soil not only retains moisture but also has good drainage. Grapes like the moistened soil but they don’t like water being clogged in the roots. Therefore sandy loam is the best soil type because it holds moisture and drains well.

In some cases, grapes are also capable of thriving in silty loam. However, in many instances, these silty soil types will need a moisture-balancing amendment to support the growth of healthy grapevines. Silty soils tend to hold a lot of water, like clay, and can easily become waterlogged. As mentioned earlier, grapes like frequent watering, but do not want the water to be clogged on the roots.

Check your soil before you plant

The first thing you should do before planting is to test your soil. Testing your soil can tell you the general pH level, amount of organic material, its physical characteristics, and also chemistry. When you have proper information about the physical and chemical aspects of your soil, you will have all of the knowledge you need to ensure your soil is perfect for optimal grape growth.

If it needs to be amended, you will know exactly what you need to add to make it perfect for your vineyards. For example, grapes need a pH level of 5.5 – 7.0 in order to thrive. Lime can be used to increase the pH of your soil and sulfur can be used to reduce the pH. For soil testing, you can find a lot of soil testing kits.

Test Soil Drainage

Grapes don’t like water being clogged into the roots, nevertheless, grapes also require good irrigation. Interestingly, grapefruit and plant both have high water content. Thus, grapes need to be water frequently but soil also needs to be good draining. Well-drained soil is defined as soil that leaches all standing water within 24 hours.

To test the drainage of your soil, dig a 12×12×12 inch hole in your planting area. Fill this hole with water and allow the ground to absorb it for 30 – 60 minutes. Once the hole is empty, or the time is up refill it again and leave it for 24 hours. If the hole has completely drained after 24 hours your soil drains well enough to support healthy grapevine growth.

If the hole has not drained completely in 24 hours, your soil does not drain well enough for grapes. If the hole has completely drained within only a few hours of being filled the second time, your soil is likely too dry to support grape vines. In either of these cases, the soil will need amended with the proper moisture balancing material to correct the problem.

Amending or improving your soil

Most soil types are capable of being amended fairly easily by adding organic matter. Boggy, waterlogged soil types or especially hard soil types like silt and heavy clay can be amended by adding vegetable composts, manure, pine bark, chopped hardwood, and pH gravel. These materials work to break up the soil density, allowing it to drain better and prevent it from clumping and compacting. Never use sand to amend boggy, clay, or silt based soils. Sand will contribute to the soil density and make the soil harder, more compact, and more prone to flooding.

It is very important to know about your soil condition for organic farming. You can correct your soil by adding organic matter like humus, vermicompost, or compost. Just by adding peat moss, compost and humos, you can easily mend sandy soil. These materials will make the soil denser and allow it to retain adequate amounts of water, while also providing a sturdier anchor for root growth and helping to prevent excessive erosion.

Different Varieties of Grapes That You can Grow

Grapes are great when eaten fresh fruits or juice, dried and made raisins, or made wine. However, there is no denying that the popularity of grapes is because of their wide use in the winery. One of the factors that determine the origin, quality, and taste of wines is the grape from which it is made. When grapes are farmed for the purpose of winemaking, it is called viticulture. Winemakers care a lot about how grapes are grown and which variety is grown because things like these greatly affect the taste. Most importantly, winemakers try to choose a variety that will suit the soil condition and weather in their region.

Grapes for wine production have two main types: red and white. The most familiar red grape varieties are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Tempranillo while the most familiar white varieties are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer.

Let’s take a look at some of these important types.

Red Grape Types

Cabernet Franc 

Cabernet Franc is a variety of red grapes regularly found in Bordeaux, France. Cabernet Franc is a popular variety with winemakers around the world. Well-known wines that are sourced from this grape are the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It might have a peppery taste with tobacco, raspberry, or coffee depending on the district where it is made. The 100 percent Cabernet Franc variety of wine is produced in a couple of areas of the world. The most ancient is the Loire Valley in France, and as of late in Washington, California, and Carolina in the United States. 

Cabernet Sauvignon 

Cabernet Sauvignon grape originally started from Bordeaux, France. It is a blended kind from two parental hybrids of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Since it was first made known several hundred years back, it has been embraced in numerous winemaking regions in the world. Wines produced from this variety of grapes have exceptional taste and fragrance. The development of this grape has stretched out from Europe to other winemaking areas around the world. Cabernet Sauvignon is presently a significant sort developed and utilized as a mix in California, the state where over 90 percent of the US wine is produced. 

Merlot 

Merlot known for its intense and rich fruity red color is one of the significant red grape types with its source originating from the Bordeaux in France. The taste is like Cabernet with the fragrances of blackberry, cassis berries, chocolate, and coffee. Merlot is like Cabernet yet with less tannin content that gives it the fine flavor and taste. Merlot grapes are developed as a noteworthy sort in Chile, Italy, and the United States. 

Syrah 

Syrah grape is a red sort that took its starting point from the Rhône wine district in Northern France. The grape has been embraced as the primary sort for winemakers in nations like Australia and South Africa. Hermitage and Cote Rotie vintage wines produced using Syrah grapes energized a few people from Australia on a visit to France to discover progressively about the grape. They took the Syrah grape along to Australia where it is locally called Shiraz. The wines produced using Syrah come in various styles. Ideal and delightful wines with ready plums and blackberry natural products express the diverse qualities of the locale they originate from, for example, flavors and pepper from cold atmospheres, for example, the Yarra Valley and Adelaide Hills of Australia.

Pinot Noir 

The Pinot Noir grape type is indigenous to the Burgundy region in France, which offers probably the best quality red wines to date. A few nations have imported Pinot Noir into their wine-production industry. This has made the grape gain its popularity after some time with top quality wines from California, Oregon, New Zealand, and numerous other new wine developing regions. 

Tempranillo 

While a lot of red grape types originated in France, Tempranillo is a red grape that took its origin from Spain and is widely used to create delectable Spanish red wines. Regardless of its origin from Spain, it has been developed by viticulturists in America, Australia, and South Africa. Tempranillo grows earlier than other grape types which improves its flavor, taste, and quality. Wines produced using Tempranillo has a decent flavor, for example, plum, tobacco, cedar, and vanilla. The Spanish Conquistadors took the grape seeds to different parts of Europe and America without any differences in the flavor and taste as those developed in Spain. 

White Grape Types 

Sauvignon Blanc 

Sauvignon Blanc is a white sort from the Bordeaux, France. Sauvignon Blanc is coined from two French words “Sauvage” (wild) and “blanc” (white). Sauvignon blanc is planted in many wine-developing areas of the world and is known for its crisp, dry and reviving flavor. Wines produced using Sauvignon offers a wide scope of flavors from home grown to citrus and tropical shades which express the distinctive attributes of the locale from which they are made. Sauvignon blanc is a principal white sort that can be found in numerous locales of Europe, America, and Australia. 

Chardonnay 

Chardonnay is another significant white grape utilized in the creation of a few mixes of white wine and is found nearly in all areas of the world. The grape started from Burgundy, France. The wines produced using Chardonnay grape has diverse taste and flavor depending on the region they belong to. Chardonnay grape type has been made known to a few different nations outside France, for example, England, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. 

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is a white grape and it isn’t as common compared with Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay. Its cultivation began as a mutant cross from the trainer also called Sauvignon blanc in northern Italy. Traminer is an old grape from Tramin a der Weinstraße, a German-speaking part of Italy. Gewürztraminer has distinctive characteristics and easy to recognize from its floral to fruity aroma for many wine connoisseurs. It has an exceptional fragrance of flower petal, gardenia, honeysuckle, lychee, grapefruit, peach, and mango. Gewürztraminer is mainly grown in Alsace, France but it has also been growing in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. Wines made with Gewürztraminer grape offers loads of tasty flavors and health benefits.

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