If you have ever grown a grapevine in your garden or seen a natural grapevine, you will probably have considered it to be quite unruly. Vines in nature want to creep and the Vitis (grapevine) is reluctant to be controlled but controlled it must be, this is why you see orderly rows of them in vineyards.
If left to their own devices, these vines would creep their way around anything in their path. This uncontrolled behaviour does not make for great tasting fruit and certainly not world class fine wines because the vines energy is focused on creeping. A wine producing grapevine requires a guiding hand to encourage it to concentrate all that energy into growing and ripening the grapes.
HOW DO WINE PRODUCING GRAPEVINES GROW?
Starting a vineyard from scratch by planting lots of grapevines on the trellis will not make anyone a fast buck if planning to produce wine for sale. Grapevines take years to grow and anyone who gets involved with winemaking knows their return on investment will take some time to bear fruit, pardon the pun.
GRAPEVINES NEED ENCOURAGEMENT TO FLOURISH
Grapevines need support to grow upwards because they naturally want to creep in all directions. Tethering them to a trellis provides this connective support that they need for the winemaker to be able to manipulate and encourage their growth. Like gardening, this is done by pruning the vines into the shape, allowing easy access to the grapes. Pruning the grapevines in this maximises the fruit’s exposure to sunlight and helps the crop to flourish.
GRAPEVINES ARE HARDY SURVIVORS
Grapevines grow in some challenging locations and produce incredible wines, not in spite of that, but because of that reason. Some excellent wine is grown in some of the world’s most extreme vineyards. While they do require a lot of controlling in one respect, when it comes to their location, they don’t seem to mind whether the soil is sandy and the temperature humid or if they’re on a rocky site with dry heat and less access to water.
CAN ANYONE BUY A GRAPEVINE AND PRODUCE WINE?
Absolutely anyone can buy a grapevine and have a go at producing wine; however, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Not only do the vines have to be hardy, but the winemakers themselves have to be robust. There is so much expertise and so many techniques that have been passed down through the generations that this really is a specialist field.
Although all grapevines really need is sun, warmth, water and nutrients from the soil, unless you have a remarkable amount of land, patients, resilience, energy and time on your hands, it’s probably best to leave the winemaking up to the wine experts and simply purchase your fine wine to enjoy or invest in from a reputable fine wine company that can help ensure you are buying the best quality wines.