10 Tips For Effective Grape Farming

Greg Stokes, owner of Ursa Vineyards and consultant to Merkin Vineyards, offers these 10 "lessons learned" for aspiring grape farmers and winemakers.
vineyard, hard work

1. Research temperature data for your site to be sure vines will survive there.

2. Do soil tests and dig backhoe pits to look at soil profiles.

3. Be sure to test that you have adequate water and that it is suitable for agriculture.

4. Based on your research, plant the appropriate varietal and root- stock for your site.

5. If you are not a winery owner, find a winery to partner with before you plant to ensure you sell your crop.

6. Add soil supplements as indicated by your soil tests before you plant the vineyard.

7. Find a reliable vineyard consultant or manager who is familiar with your area. A few well-spent hours with a good consultant can save thousands of dollars and lots of time.

8. Look at row orientation and trellis type. These are site and variety dependent. Space the vines appropriately to utilize existing available equipment.

9. Be prepared for a lot of hard work. Or develop a relationship with a local labor contractor. A vineyard is very labor intensive.

10. Be prepared for a substantial long-term investment. Vineyard installation is expensive, and the first three to four years of establishment are costly, given there will be little to no income to offset costs.

For more information, visit ursavineyards.com or call 530-647-2646.