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How To Grow a Grapevine


When you buy a grapevine in Spring or Summer it is likely to be in its first or second year of growth. If you intend to plant it in the ground please do so as soon as possible to allow its roots to get established before winter. Incorporate lots of grit into the planting hole for drainage.

Don’t expect grapes from a baby grapevine. All babies need to be nurtured for the first few years, then they are more amenable. Once it’s 3 year old your vine will be ready to start giving you grapes, but don’t be too greedy with your first crop or you could weaken the vine permanently. Expect grapes in September/October and limit the Year 3 crop to a few bunches only.

A south-facing aspect is ideal for grapevines as they love sunshine and warmth which they need to ripen the grapes. Aim to plant in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day.

Train your vine up a 6 ft bamboo cane so that you have a single central stem with a couple of side branches by Year 3.

The most important thing about grapes is that they ONLY produce grapes from branches that grew out in the previous year. 2 year old wood (and older) will NOT give you any grapes. So you need to encourage the habit of cutting out old side branches and tying in new wood each winter. Grapevines don’t need a lot of fertiliser. If you overfeed them you will have lots of foliage and few grapes. A little feed once a month is fine.

If you plan to have a large vine, some kind of long term support is advisable. Sturdy end posts with 2 or 3 wires between at height intervals will give decent support.

Mature vines are usually hardy down to -15 degrees Celsius, but a young vine should be given winter protection in the first couple of years. A straw mulch around the base will help protect the roots so that even if the top growth dies off you have a good chance of it regenerating from the base the following May/June.

Grapes can be kept in pots for up to 20 years, provided the compost is free-draining (lots of grit) and you keep increasing the pot size. A mature vine will need a 25 litre pot to thrive. Also, pots can be taken into a greenhouse for an earlier crop.

More blog posts by grapevinesuk

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Interesting and very easy to follow imformative blog, I did try once a number of years back and actually did get grapes, the birds loved them, however I think I cut the wrong time and lost it, someone told me to plant outside my g'house but allow to vine to grow up inside but never actually tried it....
Welcome to Goy and thankyou..

9 Sep, 2017


Hi Lincslass,

thanks for your comments.

This year I used organza bags (the kind they use for wedding favours) and that kept the birds and the wasps off my grapes perfectly, so will do the same in subsequent years. Organza bags come with a draw string type closure, so I close them with a nice bow and they look just like a present ready for a lucky someone!

10 Sep, 2017


Welcome to Goy.
Very informative blog, the organza bags are a very good idea for those outside.
Did you see Monty on GW thinning his grapes with scissors a few weeks ago?
I did have a grape vine growing in a conservatory, it was planted outside & trained in through the side, I would get masses of grapes but didn't thin the bunches well enough & mould was a problem.

12 Sep, 2017


We did plant a vine many years ago but lost it. Now it's too late.

My father used to grow white and black grapes in the greenhouses and there were very welcome during the WW2 years.

Great idea regarding the drawstring organza bags. I'm going to try one in the fruit stand.

14 Sep, 2017

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