Starting a Backyard Vineyard


hey guys I wanted to share the backyard

vineyard project that I've been working

on it's a five row vineyard by about

sixty five foot rows I've got some Cab

Franc planted Merlot planted LEM burger

which is also known as blaufränkisch

Riesling and tram and net and then just

a couple test vines of like hybrids and

I'll have a couple cab soft tests I'm in

the south southwest Pennsylvania

so the climates a little bit unknown for

what's gonna happen I'm basically

halfway between the Finger Lakes and

Virginia so a lot of these are kind of

tests and we'll kind of just figure out

how things go I've got a data logger

here this is from onset and what this

will do is measure temperature and

humidity it pings once every 10 minutes

and it'll track it throughout the year

so I'll get basically a graph and kind

of get a better fuel on my microclimate

I've also got a another data logger that

measures light intensity so the light

intensity one's the MX 2202 and the temp

and humidities MX 2302

and those I can just bluetooth to my

phone so they're really pretty simple to

use and like I said it's got a better

handle on the microclimate the trellis

type that I chose to do is called smart

Dyson so it's a split canopy style kind

of allows you to spread out the vigor of

the vines I've basically got a cord own

wire here to catch wires to catch wires

and to catch wires so it'll allow me to

run the trunk up split and then run

canes upwards as well as running canes

downwards which is generally a good

technique in areas that you have

relatively fertile soil as far as soil

goes though probably the most important

factor would be drainage so in

Pennsylvania we have a lot of clay

this is like about 12 inches of topsoil

followed by like a sandy or clay and

then kind of a shale type soil so it's

nice here because on this part of the

lawn it's just not flat it kind of is

like a concave surface so the water just

flows off but it never really gets muddy

here it drains really pretty good so

it's not the worst soil it's a decent

soil for the vineyard I think I like I

said I think the biggest issue I'll have

is just excessive vigor in the vine so

that's why I've got the split canopy

style for posts I used four end posts I

used these I think these are five to six

inch treated posts I got these up in

Erie PA at Northeast fruit growers I've

got the upright posts which are three to

four inch treated and normally people

would run an anchor wire here but to

conserve space and make sure I can get

the mower around I chose to do this

angle brace and this is another one of

those three to four inch posts it's

pinned and then it's additionally pinned

into a post that's driven in here around

the end posts and also the uprights I

put a lot of crushed like heavy block

and stone and just tamped it really

really good just to solidify these posts

so they're really rock-solid because

there's a lot of wires on this and the

tensions not very high but when you have

seven wires that's just it you just have

to have a really sturdy post the wires

that I'm using this is pretty standard

I'm using 12 and a half gauge or 12 and

a half gauge high-tensile so this would

be like what you'd use on an electric

fence but it's also what you use in a


I've got wire strainers on every single

wire so you can buy these by like the 25

pack and there are a few bucks apiece so

then it just kind of allows you to you

know set the tension and if you need to

tighten it it's really easy there's just

a tool you put on and it clicks

so really pretty simple the row

orientation is north and south which is

really good it kind of optimizes the

sunlight that these grapes will get and

it's in a pretty full Sun area so again

I really want to maximize the sunlit

light because I am growing some grapes

that will be a little bit challenging to

ripen in this climate let's see oh the

the spacing between rows that's kind of

important to think about so I've got

about six-foot row to row spacing and my

posts are at at the middle or about five

and a half feet tall so you almost want

like a one to one ratio because you want

to kind of if you went really tall on

your post but had not a lot of space in

between you just wouldn't really

maximize the sunlight that's gonna come

down on the vines so that's something to

keep in mind roughly a 1/2 1/4 vine

spacing I've got five feet on the

vinifera which would be like your cab

Franck your Merlot your Riesling and I'm

also doing I think that'll be fine for

those vines I've got a couple test vines

that are hybrids in the back I'm doing

8-foot spacing and the tram Annette here

I'm on a 5 foot spacing which is I'm a

little nervous that that's a little bit

aggressive especially seeing how well

the tram nets are growing so I think for

the hybrids something like I don't know

7 or 8 foot spacing with a split canopy

because vsp vertical chute positioning

on those is just they're just gonna be

way too aggressive of growers to do

something like that unless you're really

sprawling them out over you know 10 or

12 feet so that's pretty basic I used

these grow tubes to get the season

started because in my area I was a

little bit nervous about deer chomping

the young vines off which will basically

you know end them and it all

creates kind of a humid environment to

get them to grow pretty nicely I've got

as far as like pests that I've had to

deal with

of course deer are one Japanese beetles

have been a little bit of an issue but

only for about one week of the year and

then downy mildew so like in California

they'll get a lot of powdery mildew in

this climate especially in September we

get a lot of nights where the humidity

spikes to about a hundred degree or a

hundred percent which I see on the data

logger and what that ends up doing is

creating a lot of downy mildew and you

can tell when you have downy mildew you

get little spots on the tops of the

leaves and if you flip the leaf upside

down you'll see like a white powder and

you really kind of have to spray

something you can spray copper and like

what they'll do in Bordeaux is we'll do

a copper lime blend which is pretty

eco-friendly compared to some other

options but you really want to spray

before the mold really gets out of hand

because there before the mildew gets out

of hand because it's just it's a lot

easier to control if you catch it early

I would say that's probably the those

are pretty much the key things you're

gonna want to think about when you're

starting a backyard vineyard I'll put

some follow up articles on my website

smart winemaking comm so make sure you

go check that out

and also post a link to the data loggers

that I'm using in my description so if

you're thinking about doing a backyard

vineyard just keep checking in or post

any questions you have down in the

comments and I can share some of the

things I've learned along the way thanks

for watching