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Pounds Per Vine & Minimum Number Of Pounds Necessary For Fermentat


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#1 NBS

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 08:02 PM

I was thinking about planting maybe 10 vines or so, spaced about four feet apart, and trying for some low yield crops, but I don't know the minimum number of pounds necessary to get a good fermentation going.

I would be planting white varietals, and going with 100% stainless steel, so at least in theory I could use very small containers [i.e. I wouldn't be limited by the size of an oak cask].

From the calculations I've run, and from some of the things I've been able to google, I'm getting numbers that are just all over the place.

For instance, do "artisanal" vines produce about 2.5 to 5 pounds per vine, whereas "industrial" vines produce about 20 to 25 lbs per vine?

Do those numbers sound right?

If so, then 10 vines would produce about 25 to 50 lbs of "artisanal" fruit - is that enough to get a good fermentation going?

Or do you need significantly more fruit to get a good fermentation?

Also, the figures I'm seeing indicate anywhere from about 12.5 to 17.5 lbs of grapes per gallon - does that sound right?

So if I went with 10 vines, and a fairly "artisanal" pruning, down to 5 lbs per vine, then I'd have about 50 lbs of fruit, and about 4 gallons of "artisanal" wine - does that sound about right?

Thanks for any help!




#2 stephent

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 10:21 PM

Growing grapes isn't exactly science from year to year.....I do remember the freeze of '07 here that eliminated most reasons for any pruning...hopes....reasonable expectations.
I would take a slightly more (and do here as well) open minded approach to growing grapes for wine and approach the subject as "relative" from year to year.
Hard guesstimates for pounds/gallons per vine are ok if you grow acres of them and have grown them in your locale for a few years...but giving someone a close guesstimate for "somewhere" in someplace is rather hard...you do live in a particular location somewhere don't you? Some places would be lucky to grow 5 pounds of grapes a vine if ya didn't do anything and just let them grow as best they could.
Growing them at 4 ft should provide some of the "stress" needed...but usually unnecessary, nature usually does better.
Five pounds of grapes from an established healthy vine isn't much.
And even 2 ounces of Grapes will ferment to perfection if watched and guided...or blind dumb luck is around.
Where do you live? Just a general location would maybe help. There's probably someone who lives reasonably close to you to help with grape types and what they can be expected to produce in your general location.

Just remember..."artisanal" grown/trained grapes/vines don't necessarily make the best wines.


#3 NBS

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 12:08 AM

I'm in Central North Carolina - we're supposed to be able to grow vinifera here [down east they have to grow rotundifolia, as I understand it].

I was just wondering if 10 or so vines would be enough to get something fermentable, or if I would need to go with more like 20 or 25 vines.

I'd be happy with just a couple of cases of wine, if it were any good.

QUOTE
Just remember..."artisanal" grown/trained grapes/vines don't necessarily make the best wines.

Well everything I ever read indicated that the best juice comes from the lowest yields.

I wouldn't want to put the time and effort into this if all I would get out of it were swill.


#4 Woods Wine

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 04:01 AM

I grow Hybrids in NY. My experience is that I realize between anywhere between .5 to 1.5 gallons of finished wine per vine. The yield is very dependent on the type of growing season that you have... rain, frost, disease, deer, birds, and many other factors will drastically affect any particular year's yield. The yield range I mentioned above are from 4 - 8 year old vines. My vines are spaced ~7 feet apart, and they are quite vigorous. At 4 foot spacing, and using Vinifera, your yields may be smaller than mine.

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#5 bigadamsoy

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 05:28 AM

QUOTE (NBS @ Apr 8 2009, 09:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was thinking about planting maybe 10 vines or so, spaced about four feet apart, and trying for some low yield crops, but I don't know the minimum number of pounds necessary to get a good fermentation going.

I would be planting white varietals, and going with 100% stainless steel, so at least in theory I could use very small containers [i.e. I wouldn't be limited by the size of an oak cask].

From the calculations I've run, and from some of the things I've been able to google, I'm getting numbers that are just all over the place.

For instance, do "artisanal" vines produce about 2.5 to 5 pounds per vine, whereas "industrial" vines produce about 20 to 25 lbs per vine?

Do those numbers sound right?

If so, then 10 vines would produce about 25 to 50 lbs of "artisanal" fruit - is that enough to get a good fermentation going?

Or do you need significantly more fruit to get a good fermentation?

Also, the figures I'm seeing indicate anywhere from about 12.5 to 17.5 lbs of grapes per gallon - does that sound right?

So if I went with 10 vines, and a fairly "artisanal" pruning, down to 5 lbs per vine, then I'd have about 50 lbs of fruit, and about 4 gallons of "artisanal" wine - does that sound about right?

Thanks for any help!


With balanced pruning at 4 foot spacing you should be able to get about 5-6 gallons of wine off of 10 mature vinifera vines. I think 20 would make you happier, if you have space....

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#6 smd

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 05:53 AM

NBS, Where at in Central NC? If you add your location to your profile the experts here can give you some good advice.

You are welcome to come visit my vineyard in Sanford and get all the info that you can stand.
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#7 gregorio

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:56 AM

Keep in mind that yields depend on varietal, climate, trellis, vineyard practices (irrigation, fertilization, thinning, netting, etc) and more. Tighter spacing menas more vines but does not always mean more fruit. Every site/varietal/etc has an optimum spacing range where yield, costs and quality all intersect/overlap.

In other words, there are circumstances where you can probably plant 1 vine and get the same amount of quality wine as 5 vines in the same space.
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#8 Wade's Wines

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 08:47 AM

I wish I could remember where I saw it, but last year I read about an experiment where one of the State Universities had planted two rows I think 100' long. One had one plant in the middle. The other had vines spaced at a common distance, maybe 8 ft. At a certain age of maturity, maybe 10 years, the two rows produced virtually the same amount of grapes.
I believe the vines were about 25 years old when someone accidentally damaged the one vine and ended the experiment. But they produced the same until then. I guess human error would be reason enough not to go with the one-vine-row. I've heard the #1 cause of grapevine death is human error, mowers in particular.
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#9 fmestas

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:02 AM

QUOTE (NBS @ Apr 8 2009, 08:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was thinking about planting maybe 10 vines or so, spaced about four feet apart, and trying for some low yield crops, but I don't know the minimum number of pounds necessary to get a good fermentation going.

I would be planting white varietals, and going with 100% stainless steel, so at least in theory I could use very small containers [i.e. I wouldn't be limited by the size of an oak cask].

From the calculations I've run, and from some of the things I've been able to google, I'm getting numbers that are just all over the place.

For instance, do "artisanal" vines produce about 2.5 to 5 pounds per vine, whereas "industrial" vines produce about 20 to 25 lbs per vine?

Do those numbers sound right?

If so, then 10 vines would produce about 25 to 50 lbs of "artisanal" fruit - is that enough to get a good fermentation going?

Or do you need significantly more fruit to get a good fermentation?

Also, the figures I'm seeing indicate anywhere from about 12.5 to 17.5 lbs of grapes per gallon - does that sound right?

So if I went with 10 vines, and a fairly "artisanal" pruning, down to 5 lbs per vine, then I'd have about 50 lbs of fruit, and about 4 gallons of "artisanal" wine - does that sound about right?

Thanks for any help!



You should probably think more along the lines of "lbs of fruit per foot of fruiting wire." This normalizes for the differences in spacing and vine size. For example, 5lbs per vine on a vine spaced at 8 feet is a lot different than 5lbs per vine on a vine spaced at 3 ft.

A good starting point for lbs/ft ranges from ~1-2. The artisanal wine would be at the lower end and the bulk wine would be at the higher end.

HOWEVER, as everyone above has stated, it is very dependent on your site and the varieties that you plant. Varieties like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc can produce very high quality wines at high crop levels, whereas varieties like Pinot Noir tend to need low crop levels.

To achieve the highest quality grapes for your site, you really need to achieve balance in the vines. Vines that are too lightly cropped will go berserk growing too many leaves, shading the fruit, causing disease issues and inhibiting ripeness. Vines that are over cropped will have trouble growing enough canopy to support the fruit. In both cases the fruit quality will be severely impacted.

To sum it all up, take everything you hear about "low yields" with a grain of salt... as there are many caveats to that "rule" and it is very much site specific.

Hope this helps,
Frank
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#10 NBS

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:37 AM

QUOTE (smd @ Apr 9 2009, 08:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
NBS, Where at in Central NC?

Just to the west of Carrboro.

What are you growing? Any vinifera?

In know that both rotundifolia & labrusca grow very vigorously on our property, but I had my heart set on vinifera [I'd really like to try some Gruner Veltliner].



#11 smd

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 06:52 PM

QUOTE (NBS @ Apr 9 2009, 12:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just to the west of Carrboro.

What are you growing? Any vinifera?

In know that both rotundifolia & labrusca grow very vigorously on our property, but I had my heart set on vinifera [I'd really like to try some Gruner Veltliner].

Yes, both vinifera and hybrids. You may also want to visit Silk Hope Winery and talk to Wally. He is just west of Pittsboro.
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