After ten years of waiting, the little vineyard is ready for it's first harvest. Initially I had planted eight cuttings, but had to wait in order to afford the enclosure materials. In the meantime the vines sat under 'cages' to protect them from deer.
About two years ago I put up the support wires and began training the vines and trimming....and more trimming....and more trimming! You have to trim away all that foliage to increase the grape yield.
The plants had gone years without watering in the summers, just a heavy mulch of cardboard and some manure. However this year the well was up and running half way thru the summer. So now the yield will increase... before that the grape harvest was too pitiful to do much with.
These two elements of heavy trimming and watering enabled me to harvest my first crop of grapes in 2022. My neighbor came over and after cracking open some decent red wine we harvested it all in about 2 hours. She even stayed to de-stem the four boxes.
It's been so long since I planted I forgot the vine variety. But I believe they are marguerette vines. A pinot noir hybrid made for climates like the Northwest. It can go to -36F and certainly mine lived in virtually drought conditions. Our short hot seasons with lots of moisture in the spring and fall can be hard on grapes. They are high in sugar, so even though I harvested early, they came in high on the hydrometer test.
I was able to harvest four boxes of grapes for the six vines that were producing (the whole vineyard is about 60x25'. That size is a good start and not too overwhelming. I bought everything I needed for about $250.00. So I won't have much of an expense next year. After processing I only have about 4 gallons of wine- and some was spilt (typical of beginner wine making!!!). I look forward to more grapes next year. To increase my yield for the future, I just cleared a new section for more vines.
Hi! I am an artist and a carpenter living in the woods of Washington! This is my off grid story.
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