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Hi Bodger, I did not see the program but I'm not on anything like that scale (7 acres).
I have about 150 vines, 3 main varieties and some odds and sods.
The main ones are Rondo and Regent (red) and Solaris (white) They are varieties that have been bred to succeed in our type of climate. They are grown commercially in Uk and across Europe.
Last year was the first one I let them crop as they need to be at least 3 yrs old to establish a good root system. I harvested enough grapes to make around 14 gallons of wine. This is bulk maturing at present. It can take several years to come good.
As the vines get older they will be allowed to produce heavier crops.
They are fairly bullet proof to grow provided they are genuine plants which have been grafted onto American Root Stock.
Two BIG problems are late frosts, which won't kill the vines but can set them back by a month or so, in which case they are unlikely to ripen in time. The second problem is rabbits and they will kill the vines. I lost about 20, nine year old vines last year, before I noticed that the rabbits had stripped the bark off them. It only took them about two weeks !!
Hope this gives you an idea of what my vineyard is about, any questions just fire away.

Living on the Lleyn Peninsula, we very rarely get frosts at all, just lots of rain and we do have a few rabbits. Photos would be great, I find your hobby really interesting.

No frosts is good.
Lots of rain is OK as long as the vineyard site is VERY well drained. The vines will not stand wet feet. They drown at the slightest sign of standing water around their roots. Thats why almost all the vineyards you see around the world are on sloping land.
I have tried to attach two photos, Winter 2013 and late May 2013.
If this works I will post more as they vines grow this year.


We're hoping to move home this year Malc, so please stick around, because I'm going to need some advice. The pictures of your vines  look great and have definitely put an idea in my mind. Kaz, my wife doesn't like cider but she definitely likes wine.

She's a red wine drinker, which varieties would you recommend?

I buy my apple trees from Frank Mathews in Tenbury and they have a number of varieties  of vines on offer.

How many bottles would you hope to get from a set up like yours?

I would wait untill you have moved, test the soil, and then pick the brains of which ever vine supplier you decide on. Different varieties suit different soils and locations.
In the UK one of the most widely grown "reds" is Rondo.
I don't know what Mathews charge but I would favour a vine specialist.
Mine came from   Stuart, the owner, is a very helpful guy. Another very good source of vines and advice is
Last year was the first year I took a crop of my vines. I picked about 100kg of grapes which produced about 13 gls finished wine (80 btls)
As they get more mature they should produce upto 400-500 btls depending on the season etc.
What about the orchard you have planted if you move and the cider business you have developed, all that effort.
How did you go on with your oak barrels ? Are they much trouble to use and is the cider improved ?

It is indeed going to be a sad day when we move, because we've put a lot of ourselves into our place. At this time of the year, the trees have come into blossom and its beautiful.
We're moving so that we're more central so that we'll be able to see our four kids and future grand children more easily. If we're honest we're also hoping to get an improved social life. We've had years of having to travel miles and miles to reach any clubs, theatres and interest societies etc. We don't think that our move is being fueled by the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence syndrome.

We'll be taking all our cider making equipment with us when we move and hopefully, if we're living in Shropshire or Herefordshire, their shouldn't be too much of a problem in getting hold of the raw materials in either of these apple rich counties.

The oak barrels have been a great purchase, they've improved both the taste and the colour of the cider and to date, have been OK to keep in a good condition. They've allowed me to store my cider in the way that it should be stored.

I've taken a couple of photos of the vines today,

The buds are opening nicely, keeping fingers crossed for no more frosts.  
This is Solaris, a white (green grape) variety. It's an early one and is in front of all the others.

I love seeing the emerging leaves, very promising! What aspect are the vines grown at? I can't remember if it's best north to south or east to west...perhaps somewhere in-between!

Looking forward to following this, as Bodger said it's an interest too...might try it one day has it's fairly hilly where I live.

Best of luck to you  

Hi Casper, thanks for the best wishes.
Your dead right ! N/S, E/W or somewhere in between
After much research I ended up planting North East/South/West mainly because this suited the field, access, etc.
As in most things the "expert" views differ. Some say plant for best sunlight, others for best wind/air flow down the rows.
Powdery Mildew can be a major problem. A lot of Sulphur Spray is used to control it.
I don't like spraying (I use a bit of weedkiller but nowt else) so I planted my rows about 8ft apart. I keep the canopy pruned to about 6ft high to let as much sunlight in and also keep thining through the season to aid air flow through the vines. Not had to spray at all yet. My mate has his vine rows much closer and has to spray every couple of weeks.

Your orchard looks great by the way, very impressed.
Your trees are well in front of round here, my Crab Apples are only just showing buds, not fully open like those in your photo.
Lets hope for another season like the last one.

Sounds well planned there. I know that in a lot of horticulture/agriculture there's room for companion planting with beneficial results, though I've never seen it with grapevines. They are always bare plots.

It isn't always ideal to spray I agree, I loathe doing it around the new orchard trees but until they are established it's necessary.

Do let me know when the corks start popping! (or twisted screw caps)  

The vines are really motoring now,

From small emerging shoots 8 days ago to this today.

These are the first flower buds. If they get pollinated and we don't have any keen frosts then each of these flowers will become a bunch of grapes.

As for popping corks the Tempranillo I made from imported grapes in 2011 is now drinking well but a Merlot made at the same time is still not ready
It is very unusual for wine from fresh grapes to be drinkable in under 2 yrs, sometimes it takes a lot longer.
The only "quick" way I have found is to make kits.

Well the Met Office got it right unfortunately and we had a frost Friday night/Saturday morning. About -2    
This is the result

Remember those lovely fresh, young shoots in previous post,  

It also blackened the tops of my first early spuds.

This is four out of the last five years that we have had a damaging frost in May !
Hope nobody else has suffered.

if I was to plant a vineyard myself, what sort of land would I need, what tests would I have to do on the land, what information would I need and how much do rabbits appreciate vines?

Sorry Bodger, I missed your previous post,
Different varieties like different soils.
I would wait untill you have your site, do a basic acidity test, and then pick the brains of a few specialist vine suppliers regarding suitable varieties.
Rabbits adore vines   The vines will have to have vine guards fitted or you will just be providing the rabbits with a tasty meal.

A couple of photos to show nature's amazing powers of recovery.
These vines were completely burnt of by frost in May.
Took the photos yesterday.  

Dave C

Looking very nice  

Its good when all the hard work starts paying off

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