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How to Construct a Vineyard

Posted by Vintage Oaks
01.03.11

Here at Vintage Oaks, we truly believe there’s no better place to own land than in Texas. In particular, if you’re fortunate enough to have land in the Texas Hill Country, then we’d suggest you seriously consider constructing your own vineyard. Texas Hill Country is widely considered one of the ideal locations in the state for producing wine. And we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is: Our own construction will be underway soon for our planned vineyard at Vintage Oaks!

Before you begin construction on a project as comprehensive and complex as a vineyard, there are several things you must consider and plan for:

  • The grapes and their surroundings. Obviously, you’ll need to determine what varieties of grapes you should plant, a decision based largely on professional assessments of which types are most likely to thrive under your particular conditions. Once you’ve decided on a variety of grape, that will influence how you space your vines. Grapes need to be close enough together that you can efficiently manage caring for them, but they also need to be spaced far enough apart that they’re not fighting each other for limited resources. More space between vines usually translates into more wind and sun exposure getting to each vine as well, another important consideration.
  • Soil condition. Before you till a single row of ground, you should have agriculture professionals conduct soil samples and give you thorough reports about the type of soil you have and what nutrients it natively contains. We also suggest that you call the Agriculture Extension office nearest you to ask for advice about what sorts of soil conditions you’ll need, specifically for growing grapes that will be used to produce wine. Furthermore, you’ll need a comprehensive survey of what types of pests inhabit your land and all its surrounding areas. You’ll need to know about insects, birds, mammals, and even any plant-borne illnesses or blights that have historically affected your area. Your Agriculture Extension office should be able to provide most of this information, and the more you know before you begin, the better.
  • Proven growing techniques. Vineyard technology is nothing new. People have been planting and growing healthy vines for literally thousands of years. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the most consistent, most successful methods. Grafting can help you develop vines that produce more abundantly, a requirement for suitable wine production. Rootstocks are a proven technique necessary to maintain healthy vines, as grapes can be highly susceptible to disease when they have to rely solely on their own root systems to propagate. When choosing an appropriate rootstock partner, it’s crucial to select the best match possible for your chosen variety of grape and your soil, in combinations that will work well together. Another complicating factor is how you’re going to handle cross-pollination, a method necessary to develop the different varieties of grapes you’ll need to produce your particular wine blends.
  • Irrigation. Even if you do everything else perfectly, if you fail to adequately plan how your vines will be watered, you’ll lose them all. Although wine-producing vines don’t need (or want) a lot of water—just barely enough to keep them alive, really—you still have to devise a system that keeps them watered evenly, avoids getting the grapes and the leaves wet, and allows for sufficient drainage to avoid water retention. Yes, they need water to drink, but if they have too much—and particularly if it stays around too long—mildew will ultimately take them.

We can’t wait to break ground on our Vintage Oaks vineyard. We’re looking forward to actively involving our residents in the construction as much as we can. We envision our vineyard as a special bond between the members of our community, a passion we all share in together. We’ll constantly update our homeowners about our plans, and about special events to share knowledge and build enthusiasm!

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