Staked grapevines grow differently than trellised grapevines, except for the fact that the vine's trunk is also trained up a grape stake. Once the staked vine's trunk is formed, shoots from the trunk grow outwards somewhat like a bush or tree. the fruit sets on the shoots and "hang" 3 to 4 feet above the ground. The grapevine trunk is strong enough to support both the laterally-growing vines and the heavy fruit, with support from the grapestake. You will see the difference in the pictures below, as compared to the trellis system discussed in another tab.
A stake system is much easier to install and maintain than a trellis system, translating to lower initial cost for planting the vineyard and few maintenance-related costs down the road. Staked vineyards are beautiful and even decorative in their own way. Most wine grape varietals thrive on staked systems as well as trellised system. Table grapes, such as Thompson Seedless, Red Flame, etc. grow best on a trellis system or affixed against a long wall. The decision to stake or to trellis, otherwise, is at the discretion of the homeowner. However, we can assist you in making a decision.
Following are plans and pictures of existing vineyards, the newest of which will be planted in March of 2009, which is why no pictures have yet been posted. The first of the three vineyards was planted at my own home in early 2007. We received our first light harvest in the fall of 2008. It was exciting! Our kids picked the first fruits, after which the crushed fruit was made into wine...our first "estate grown" wine which has already won an amateur winemaking award.
Following is the plan for our Walker Family Vintners' 109-vine vineyard on the stretch of ground between our backyard south wall and Banyan Avenue. Note that the vineyard was laid out in slanted rows that give the vineyard a distinctly more landscaped look than that of a plain, straight-row vineyard. Note, too, that the vineyard area has a number of established trees that, pruned properly, will not hamper vine and fruit growth, but give an additional nicely landscaped look that is aesthetically pleasing. (The straight black line is a telephone pole.)
Below, the "before." Note that the area is grassy and has therefore been a waste of valuable water in an attempt to keep it reasonably green. By removing the grass, the newly planted vines won't be competing for water. Additionally, the plan includes eventually landscaping the raw ground with landscaping sand to prevent erosion, keep down weed growth, and further improve the aesthetics of the vineyard.
The planting area is totally cleared of grass, and the rows are measured and marked out with string and wood stakes in preparation for stakes and vines.
Unfortunately, we don't have a picture available at this time to show the planted vineyard. However, following is a picture of our friend, Kelly, who helped pick on first Sangiovese harvest in August of 2008. Additional pictures of our vineyard will be posted soon.
Our next staked vineyard was planted on Febuary of 2009. Please note the detail of the plan, to include needed supplies and equipment. Rose bushes were planted on the ends of each of the rows for two primary reasons. Do you know why? We would appreciate the opportunity to tell you in person....
Below, the "Before." This is the major portion of the vineyard, with another smaller, curved portion that is set apart by a row of stairs. Note the slope, which will make for an excellent "terraced" vineyard, which not only adds an aesthetically pleasing look, but is also helpful in the development of the vines' root structure, sun exposure, and overall health of the vines.
The smaller, curved portion of the vineyard. Removing this particular type of ground cover (roots and all) is a lot more work than just killing off grass or removing it entirely.
With the ground prepared, the drip system installed, and installation in progress, it's an exciting day for our friends, the Govoreaus of Riverside, CA.
Below, "the After." Within hours, the vineyard is in! Each dormant vine is housed in a protective sleeve that produces a micro-climate that aids in the growth of the vine. The sleeve also provides protection from animals, wind, and any overspray from weed killer that may be used (if used at all).
Our most recent planting took place on March 15th. Our neighbors, Eric & Nancy, were kind enough to take 27 of our Banyan Vineyard vines and plant them in a plot in their backyard. Why? Unfortunately, the City of Rancho Cucamonga decided that they need part of the Walker Family Vintners' Vineyard on Banyan for installation of a horse-trail extension through our neighborhood. We had to give up 11 feet from the curb into the vineyard, thus causing us to remove two full rows, or a total of 40 vines. The rest of our vines remain, and will continue to produce for years to come.
The 27 vines were transplanted successfully and have even started to "break bud." The vineyard itself is just beautiful.
The vineyard is planted. Unfortunately we forgot to take a "before" photo, but you get the idea. The stakes still need to be "evened up" so that all are of the same height. The vines will receive full sun, as the rows are planted east-west. This is optimal for excellent grapevine growth.