Edible Landscaping – How To: Prune Grape Vines

Grapes are best trellised on a wire system. Growing on a fence allows you to grow grapes in a small space.

Grapes produce clusters of fruits off the one-year old canes.

Grapes are vigorous plants and need to be pruned back severely, removing more than 70 per cent of the canes in winter to get the best production.

Grow grapes on an arbor to provide shade, atmosphere, and food for your family.

Grape growing is booming across the country. As more people try to grow their own edible landscapes, they are realizing that grapes fit into the picture perfectly. Grapes produce fruit a few years after planting, the vines are vigorous but can be pruned to fit in small spaces, there are varieties adapted to almost any climate in the country, and the plants are long lived, yielding grapes for eating, juicing and wine making for years.

However, there are some gardeners who still shy away from grapes because of the pruning they need. Pruning grapes can seem daunting and a mystery to the inexperienced gardener. However, with a little understanding and trial and error, you can learn to how to prune your vines to keeping them under control and producing well.

How to prune your grapes depends on how you’re growing them. If you’re growing table or wine grapes for maximum production, training them on a fence is the way to go. For small spaces consider growing grape vines on individual stakes. For atmosphere, shade, and as a landscape feature, try growing grapes on an arbor. No matter how you grow them, grapes should be in your yard. Don’t let the need for pruning stop you from giving them a try.

Grape Vine Basics

The key to pruning grapes is understanding their fruiting habit. Grapes produce the most fruit on shoots growing off of one-year-old canes. If you have too many old canes (from no pruning), then you’ll get fewer grapes. If you prune back your vines completely each year, then you get lots of new growth, but again, few grapes.

For the first year or so, pruning is basically the same for each of these three methods. The goal is to create a strong root system and trunk. Plant in spring and prune back the grape vine to three buds. Place the vine near a stake and attach it to keep the vine growing vertically. As it grows, select the strongest shoot and let it grow. From here on the pruning systems vary.

Grapes on a Fence

Once you’ve selected a main cane, allow two canes to form on either side of the main trunk at about the height of your first horizontal wire (about 3 feet). Let the trunk grow up further and top it once it reaches the ultimate height (usually 5-6 feet). Allow two more canes to develop on either side of the main trunk.

The first winter, prune back the side canes to 3 buds on each and construct wire supports for them to be attached to. As the side canes grow, attach them to the wire and remove all other canes coming off the side canes or trunk. Remove fruit clusters because you want the vines to send energy into growing strong roots and a trunk at this point.

The second winter, prune back the side canes so they have about 10 buds on each. The next year they will grow shoots that will fruit. Select four other shoots close to the side canes and prune these back to two buds on each. These will be renewal spurs for the following year’s production.

The third winter prune back the side canes that fruited to the trunk and prune back the renewal spurs to ten buds and select four more renewal spurs for the following year’s fruit. Continue this process each winter. You should be removing up to 70% of the grape canes each winter.

Grapes on a Stake

If you are low on free space, try growing grapes on a stake. Pound in a sturdy stake next to the grape vine and securely attach it. Let the vine grow to the top of the stake the first year then top it. Allow 4 to 5 side canes to grow. Remove all the rest.

The first winter, cut back the side canes to three buds on each. These will send out shoots that will produce grapes the next year. Remove all weak and spindly growth, especially along the lower parts of the trunk. The second winter, prune back the healthiest canes to six to ten buds, select two canes as renewal spurs and prune those back to three buds on each and remove all other canes. Repeat this pruning each winter. Your trunk should be able to support four to seven fruiting canes each year as it gets older.

Grapes on an Arbor

If you like the thought of eating grapes hanging down from an arbor in the shade during a hot summer day, well here’s how.

Make sure you have constructed a sturdy arbor to hold the weight of the grape vines. It may be a two, four or six post arbor, depending on whether it’s attached to the house or another structure. The top can be secured with 2-inch by 4-inch wooden slats that hold the arbor together and topped with 1-inch by 2-inch wood pieces to create the lattice work for the vines to grow on. You may also need corner braces to secure the whole structure.

Grow the grapes, one per post, selecting the strongest cane. Allow it to grow to the top of the post the first year, securing it to the post as it grows. The first winter top the cane and allow it to grow side branches along the top of the arbor. If you let the vines just continue to grow, they will produce dense shade, but little fruit. Prune the grapes each winter by removing those canes that fruited the previous year, cutting back one-year-old canes to five to six buds, and leaving some renewal canes pruned back to two to three buds. The goal is to have canes on the trellis spaced 2 to 3 feet apart. Remove any weak, thin canes. You want to leave enough fruiting canes on the trellis to fill it back in each summer, but not so many that is becomes a tangled mess.

More articles on pruning grape vines:

Grape Pruning: Three Systems
Grape Arbors Simplified
Of Muscadines and Scuppernongs
Grape Training Systems

Skin Flesh Seeds Vascular tissues For more information

William McGlynn, Oklahoma State University

The structure of the grape berry may be roughly divided into three tissue types: skin, flesh, and seed (Figure 1). The chemical composition of each of these tissues types differs, which strongly influences final grape and grape product quality.

Cutaway image of a mature grape berry. Image used with permission.

Skin

The skin of the grape berry is also known as the exocarp. It is covered by a waxy layer called the cuticle. Unlike some other plant surfaces, the skin of a grape berry does not contain a significant number of functional stomata. Therefore water loss occurs mostly through the waxy cuticle, a relatively slow process. One consequence of this physiology is that grape berries do not dissipate heat well via water evaporation. Another consequence is that grape berries are not well able to shed excess water quickly. Hence they are more susceptible to splitting compared to some other fruits.

Just under the outer layer of skin cells lies a tightly-packed layer of flattened cells called the hypodermis. These cells tend to accumulate phenolic compounds in relatively high concentrations as the grape berry matures. Among their other effects, these compounds strongly influence aroma, flavor, and color attributes. Therefore, they play a key role in determining final juice and wine quality and sensory characteristics.

The compounds concentrated in these cells include many types of tannins, which strongly influence elements of mouthfeel such as astringency, and flavor such as bitterness, and many specific flavor notes. Most of these compounds are accumulated during early berry development, prior to veraison. The per-berry concentration of tannins does not appear to be much altered in the skin during the later stages of grape berry maturation, but the chemical structure of the tannins is altered. These changes lead to less astringency, less bitterness, and a smoother mouthfeel.

Pigments, mainly anthocyanins in red grapes, accumulate in these cells beginning at veraison. Many aromatic compounds such as the terpenoids, responsible for pleasant, fruity aromas, begin accumulating in these cells during this time as well.

In “slip-skin” varieties of grapes, there is a breakdown during ripening of the pectic materials that serve to bind together plant cell walls of the cells that make up the flesh immediately below the hypodermal layer of the skin. This allows the skin to separate readily from the berry flesh in these varieties.

Flesh

The cells that make up grape berry flesh are typically larger and rounder than the cells that make up the skin. These cells contain large vacuoles, which are the primary sites for the accumulation of sugars during grape berry ripening. As it enters the berry, sucrose that is transported into the cells from the vine canopy is broken down into glucose and fructose, which are the primary sugars found in mature grape berries.

Acids and phenolic compounds are also concentrated in these vacuoles, with the primary acids being tartaric and malic acid. In contrast with those located in the skin, acids and tannins located in the flesh tend to decline in per-berry concentration during berry maturation. The concentration of malic acid in particular tends to decrease. Tannins and acids present in these cells are considerably diluted by the influx of water that occurs as the grape berry matures.

The grape berry flesh cells divide rapidly until about three weeks after flowering and the rate of division is influenced by environmental factors. After cell division slows and stops, there is a short lag phase when berry size is stagnant. Following lag phase, cell size rapidly expands due to the engustment of water into the berry and its cells. It is in this third phase of berry growth that veraison occurs. Thus, fruit size in grapes is determined by cell number and, predominantly by the enlargement of those cells in the berry flesh that takes place as the grape matures. Vacuoles in these cells expand or contract substantially in response to water uptake or loss, particularly after veraison.

Seeds

Grape seeds are contained in locules (Figure 1), which are indistinct in mature berries. The seeds are composed of an outer seed coat, the endosperm, and the embryo. As with most seeds, the endosperm comprises the bulk of the grape seed and serves to nourish the embryo during early growth.

As the seeds grow during fruit maturation, they produce growth regulators that strongly influence fruit size. Thus, the size of a particular grape berry is determined in part by the number of fertilized seeds that develop within it.

The seed coat also contains relatively high concentrations of tannins. Similar to the tannins and phenols found in the flesh, these tannins are reduced in concentration on a per-berry basis as the berries mature. In particular, phenols responsible for bitterness are altered or rendered less soluble/extractable.

Vascular tissues

During its development, the grape berry obtains water and other nutrients through its vascular system (Figure 1). This system consists of central bundles and a peripheral network.

Evidence suggests that xylem vascular tissue is the primary source of grape berry nutrients until veraison, but that ploem vascular tissue becomes the primary source after veraison. Xylem serves to transport nutrients primarily from the roots. These nutrients include minerals, hormones, and other compounds. Phloem serves to transport nutrients primarily from the canopy; these are mainly sugars, mostly sucrose. Thus, the changes in grape berry vascular tissue seen during maturation correspond nicely to the development cycle observed in the grape berry cells: most changes observed in grape berry composition after veraison relate to the accumulation of sugar and the influx of water from the phloem.

Jackson, Ron S. 2000. Grapevine Structure and Function, Chapter 5 in Wine Science, 2nd Edition. San Diego: Academic Press. pp 66-71.

Kennedy, James A.2002. Understanding grape berry development, Practical Winery and Vineyard, July/August: pp 14-23.

Recommended Resources

Stages of Grape Berry Development

Annual Cycle of the Grapevine

Reviewed by Sara Spayd, North Carolina State University
and Jim Wolpert, UC Davis

You might think you know grapes, but given the sheer volume of variety in these juicy orbs that are eaten and pressed into beverages, there is a lot more to this fruit than what you see in the produce section and wine shop.

Grapes have been cultivated domestically for thousands of years, a trade that started in the Middle East in areas including Israel, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran and Turkey, to name a few. Another fun fact: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the world uses 70 percent of the grapes grown to make wine. And while an estimated 10,000 types of grapes exist in the Vitaceae family, only around 1,300 of these are used in winemaking. But even if you make vino out of the fruit, that doesn’t discount them from being a tasty, healthy snack option with limitless potential.

“Wine grapes are smaller than table grapes and have many seeds in them,” says Peter Becraft, winemaker at Anthony Road in the Finger Lakes region of New York. “That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy them on their own or use them in making jam.”

In the United States, these berries (yup, they’re berries) are the sixth-largest crop. All 50 states produce the fruit, with California, Washington and New York taking the lead. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the U.S. had approximately 1,049,600 acres of grape-growing land in 2014, and harvested more than 7 million tons of the fruit.

Frankly, it’s overwhelming when you start to think about all the grapes out there. To get you started on your next grape adventure, check out the profiles of these 15 popular varietals. To keep it simple, we separated them by red and white. You may already be familiar with some, while others sound like they were concocted in a fantasy novel, but all are edible and delicious.

Red Grapes

1. Moon Drops

Moon Drop grapes on the vine. You may have also seen a related varietal called Witch Fingers.

Just this year this elongated purple-skinned grape made its way to markets, and boy are we happy it did. The person to thank for this variety is Dr. David Cain, a plant breeder and scientist who works for the grape-growing company Grapery, developing new types. He has been working on the Moon Drop for about 15 years, cultivating the plant from a Middle Eastern sample. No, it’s not a GMO fruit; Cain practices old-school plant breeding, which is why it took so long to develop this novelty.

Characteristics: Finger-like shape with dark purple, almost black skin. The flesh is firm and crunchy, giving this variety a nice snap that also helps it maintain in the refrigerator for days. It’s sweet, but not too sugary, and tastes a little like grape jelly.

Where they grow: Central California

Season: Late July to late September

2. Concord

This cultivar was developed by Boston native Ephraim Wales Bull in 1849 in a small farmstead outside of Concord, Massachusetts. Bull started selling the grapes in 1854, and since then they have remained one of the most widely used fruits in the country. The famous juice we know so well appeared shortly after in 1989 thanks to New Jersey dentist Thomas Welch. This beverage remains 100 percent pure grape juice — that jammy sweetness comes solely from the fruit.

Characteristics: If you have ever had Welch’s classic grape juice, then you know exactly what the Concord tastes like. Bright, sweet and full of that signature dark grape flavor. In the early fall, you might see these perfect blue-purple orbs popping up in the farmers’ market. They have easy-to-peel skins and large seeds. As an added bonus, they smell fantastic!

Where they grow: The Finger Lakes region in New York, Yakima Valley in Washington, Michigan and Lake Ontario

Season: August to September

3. Pinot Noir

Believe it or not, your favorite bottle of bubbly may come from one of these purple bunches.

Classically this grape is used to make wine, and though the Burgundy region in France popularized it, growers all over the world now cultivate this vine. Lately, good samples are coming out of the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, California. You also find this grape in sparkling wines, namely champagne (more on champagne grapes later).

Characteristics: You find this thin-skinned vitis vinifera in tight clumps of deep purple fruits. “Pinot noir has flavors and aromas of ripe cherry, wild strawberry, earthiness and caramel,” says Dreaming Tree winemaker Sean McKenzie. This is the profile you find in both the raw fruit and wine, which is why these grapes have such a following. You may also detect rose, black cherry and currents.

Where they grow: All over the world but mainly in France, Oregon, New Zealand and California

Season: August to September

4. Lemberger

Also known by the equally awesome name blaufränkisch, this grape is used for making dark, tannic wines with subtle spice notes. Originally this early-budding varietal grew in the Württemberg wine region of Germany, but in the last few decades the Finger Lakes of New York and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia have been having a lot of luck with the vines.

Characteristics: The plump grapes have a dusty blue color with a tannic berry essence. If you peel the skin back, you get more sweet, dark fruit flavors. Notes of pepper tend to come out in the grape, especially when made into wine.

Where they grow: Germany, Austria, Canada and New York

Season: August to September

5. Sweet Jubilee

Looking for an extra-large, extra-grapey grape? Look no further than tight clusters of Sweet Jubilees.

This grape hails from the Grapery’s Flavor Promise series, and made the scene in 2012. It’s one of the seeded varietals they grow, but proves so big you can cut it like an apple and just pop those suckers out. Eat them raw, sliced on a peanut butter sandwich or lightly grilled to give your salad a fruity, smoky kick.

Characteristics: You will know these grapes by the large black ovals that make up a bunch. They are sweet and firm with a clean grape flavor.

Where they grow: Central California

Season: Mid-August to early September

6. Valiant

It can’t be easy to cultivate grapes in Alaska, but thanks to its durability in freezing temperatures and harsher soil conditions, the fast-growing valiant does quite well there. These large blue grapes are used for juicing, jams and as a table grape, though they can be on the sweeter (almost sugary) side.

Characteristics: These cold-weather beauties taste a lot like Concords, and have an easy-to-remove skin and high-sugar flesh. They’re larger than the average table grape and aren’t as astringent.

Where they grow: Alaska, Canada

Season: Late August to September

7. Champagne

No, this isn’t the grape that the French make sparkling wine out of, though we understand how that might be confusing. Actually, this teeny-tiny grape’s official name is the Zante currant (though it’s not technically a currant) and is sometimes also called the black corinth. They are thought to have originated in Asia and/or Greece, but now are mainly grown in Europe and the United States. They are popular with chefs too, and at Rebelle in New York City chef Jessica Yang uses them alongside more standard grapes in her grape clafoutis. “Champagne grapes provide sweetness while the combination of table grapes add an element of tartness,” she says.

Characteristics: These are some of the smallest berries you can find, roughly the size of a pea, which makes them perfect for decorating a plate, popping in you mouth as a snack or giving to kids. They are tender and sweet, with a pleasing crunch.

Where they grow: California, Europe, Mediterranean

Season: June to September

8. Crimson Seedless

You now know the name for the red seedless grapes you’ve been serving with cheese plates for years. Say it loud and proud: Crimson Seedless!

Most of the red table grapes you see in the store are Crimson Seedless, thanks to David Ramming and Ron Tarailo of the USDA Fruit Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in Fresno, California. They bred these popular berries and released them to the public in 1989. Essentially, this is the classic grape many of us are used to, and since they have a later growing season you especially see them in the winter. Chef Yang also works with these grapes: “They add an element of tartness and have a thick skin, which keeps the juiciness and gives them a nice pop when you bite in,” she says.

Characteristics: They are firm and sweet with a pleasing tartness and have a long shelf life. The color is usually a pale brick red, sometimes with greenish streaks.

Where they grow: California

Season: August to November

9. Kyoho

Extra-large Kyoho grapes are prized in Japan for their size, uniform roundness and unparalleled flavor.

With fruits that get as big as a plum, these are the largest grapes you can find. In fact, the name “Kyoho” translates from Japanese to “giant-mountain grape,” a moniker that stemmed from Mount Fuji. These black beauties were specially bred in the 1930s and are a cross between the Ishiharawase and Centennial grape varieties. In Japan, this grape is served for dessert or juiced and mixed into traditional chuhai cocktails.

Characteristics: Large, dark black-purple berries with a big inedible seed and thick, bitter skin. You will want to peel off the outside to enjoy the sweet fruit underneath, which has a similar taste to the Concord grape.

Where they grow: Japan

Season: July to August

White Grapes

10. Cotton Candy

Sure doesn’t look like cotton candy, but one taste of these inimitably sweet green grapes and you’ll be like a kid at the fair again.

One bite of this juicy green grape and you will understand why they are so popular. Yes, they taste just like cotton candy, but in a healthy, natural form. “We weren’t breeding for a specific flavor, just grapes with a great flavor,” says Jim Beagle, CEO and co-owner of Grapery, which grows these sweethearts. “It’s amazing how much they taste like cotton candy.” You can find this varietal trademarked under the Grapery’s banner, and thus far it is only grown in California.

Characteristics: Cotton candy in grape form, hands down

Where they grow: Central California

Season: Mid-August to late September

11. Riesling

Riesling grapes are good for so much more than German and Austrian wine. That said, they make really great German and Austrian wine.

Riesling grows best in areas with cooler climates, like Austria, Germany and the Finger Lakes in New York. “Riesling is the most versatile grape grown, giving one the potential to make wines from bone-dry to dessert wine–sweet,” says Anthony Roads winemaker Peter Becraft. “The natural acidity of the grape provides structure, freshness and balance for the grape’s sugars. Riesling is wonderfully expressive of its site and the vintage it was grown in.” They taste great pressed into non-alcoholic juice, too.

Characteristics: As a grape, this specimen runs on the sweet side, with floral undertones and high acidity. This fruit also picks up the terroir of the land, meaning if the soil has more minerals in it, the grapes reflect that. All of these traits make it a great grape for winemaking. Becraft, for one, calls Riesling “the best food wine ever invented.”

Where they grow: Austria, New York, Germany, Canada and Alsace

Season: August to September, though Riesling grapes for ice wine are picked at the first frost, usually October.

12. Gewürztraminer

From pink grapes come white wine! Stranger things in winemaking have occurred.

You don’t have to have wine to understand what a bottle of gewürztraminer tastes like — just pop a fresh grape in your mouth. “For me the tastiest grapes in the vineyard to munch on are the gewürztraminer grapes,” says Becraft. “They really taste of the wine they turn into — so good.”

Characteristics: It may surprise you find out these white grapes have a pink-red skin, nothing like the almost clear wine you tend to see in the glass. While the size proves standard for the fruit, the flavor remains less grapey, and instead comes across as soft and clean with a hint of stone fruit.

Where they grow: All over the world

Season: July to September

13. Moon Balls

Created by Dole, you won’t often find these white-seeded grapes since they are only grown in South Africa and thus far production is limited. The company hopes to cultivate more in other parts of the world, so next year there might be a plethora of Moon Balls just waiting to orbit your kitchen.

Characteristics: These round hybrid grapes come out large and green, almost like an edible bouncy ball. They posses a thick skin and supple, sweet flesh that proves a bit more sugary than most table grapes.

Where they grow: South Africa

Season: February to March

14. Sultana

Also known as Thompson Seedless, these small white grapes originally hailed from the Ottoman Empire. Today, they are a favorite with chefs and are the chief fruit used to make commercial raisins. In the kitchen, prolific chef Chris Cosentino takes the little berries and gives them a blast of heat. “They are great blistered, which brings out most of their sweetness,” he says. “We’re using them in a great dish with squid, watermelon radish, serrano, mint, basil and cilantro.”

Characteristics: Sultanas are small, light green oval-shaped grapes that pack a wallop of sugar. Once dried, the sugar concentrates and produces that earthy-sweet raisin flavor everyone knows. Even when you see a darker raisin, that’s still a sultana.

Where they grow: Turkey, California and Australia

Season: July to September

15. Fry Muscadine

You might not realize that this large, brown-gold orb is actually a grape, but we assure you it is. Turns out the fry muscadine has a lot in common with beach bunnies: They bronze in the sun and get a taut, crispy outside. These heat-resistant cultivars were introduced to the market in 1970 by R. Lane of the University of Georgia.

Characteristics: Coming out about the size of a cherry tomato, these fruits turn a nice gold color when ripe that just adds to their sunny sweetness.

Where they grow: Georgia

Season: September

This post was updated from its original publishing date in 2015.

10 Reasons You Should Be Growing Grapes In Your Backyard

Ever daydreamed of picking huge clusters of sun-warmed, juicy grapes from your own backyard vines? Here are ten solid reasons to add these highly-productive and also decorative vines to your edible landscape this season. Cheers!

Gardeners have been cultivating grapes for more than 6,000 years; if they can do it, so can you. Growing grapes is easier than you think, and the benefits range from the “It’s like I never tasted a grape before” flavor to the old-world elegance they add to the landscape. Here are our top ten reasons why you need to get growing grapes.

1. Fruit, of course!

Baskets and baskets of the most luscious fruit over a long season once the plants are established. There’s a grapevine for nearly every climate. If you have sunshine, can provide good air circulation, well-drained soil, and a sturdy structure such as an arbor, fence or post-and-wire system, you can grow grapes. And, because they don’t have to travel, grapes grown at home can be picked at their peak of ripeness. Need more? How about homemade juice, jelly, raisins, and even grape leaves for stuffing and garnish. Oh, and if you’re so inclined, your own house wine?

2. They’re a good value.

Grapevines are long-lasting plants that can thrive for decades if planted in the right spot and given the proper care. While some varieties take a longer time to mature or have limited hardiness, it’s not uncommon for a grapevine, especially in a warmer climate, to be producing bushels of fruit when it’s pushing 50 years old. That’s quite a return on an investment of around $40.00 for a large, five-gallon plant.

3. They fall into the “less is more” category.

One healthy, vigorous grapevine can produce about 20 pounds of fruit each year. Just a few vines should be enough to keep an average household happy.

4. They’re easy to grow.

Grapes don’t require lots of care except for regular annual pruning which is necessary to limit growth of the vine and to maximize fruiting; this is particularly true if you’re growing grapes for production such as wine-making. Pruning also helps the plant conform to the trellis on which it’s growing. Grape fruits form on one-year-old growth only; pruning heavily in late winter encourages abundant vigorous, fruit-bearing vines. That said, mature grapevines that have not been pruned for a few years can be cut back severely and will start productive growth again. Don’t let this intimidate you. If you’re up for wielding a sharp set of pruners, you’re good to go.

5. They add drama (and shade, too) to the landscape.

If the leafy canopy of a grapevine trained over an arbor is an alluring focal point, imagine what a few rows of trained vines laden with fruit would be. Showstopper. That canopy also provides cooling shade in the depths of summer and one more thing—the vine’s deep roots tap moisture in drought conditions making them an excellent choice for water-wise landscapes.

6. They play well with other vines.

Those sturdy, twisty, thick canes are the ideal host for a variety of other climbers such as roses, jasmine, trumpet vines, passion flower, clematis, or even annual vines. Combining vines can produce a stunning show from spring to fall (the grapevines in my own zone 9 yard are combined with pink jasmine and white Lady Banks roses—the show starts in February and doesn’t end until November). The trick is to get the balance of plants right. Two companion climbers for every grapevine is about right.

7. They’re so good for you.

Besides being easy to grow and prolific, grapes are a rich source of vitamins A, C, B6, and folate, and they contain essential minerals like potassium, calcium, and iron. Grapes are also loaded with phytonutrients such as resveratrol, which are now believed to play a role in longevity. All that and tasty, too.

8. They’re lovely winter, spring, summer and fall.

No matter the season, grapevines add interest and a sense of maturity to even a new garden. In winter, the vines have a rustic architectural quality often in contrast to the refined structure on which they’re twined. Spring brings bright, spearmint-green foliage, summer shows off those distinctive large leaves and come fall, those same leaves of many varieties turn rich red, gold, and amber. Even if they didn’t give you fruit, grapevines would still be an awesome garden plant.

9. They’re loved by beneficial insects.

Lady beetles and lacewings, wonderful insects that dine only on landscape pests and don’t harm good bugs or plants, will make a beeline for grapes particularly if you add a row of yarrow, catmint, purple coneflower, and penstemon nearby.

10. They’re humble-brag material.

As in, yes, that’s my own wine label. If you have the space and the right climate, you can grow grapes for making wine. There are three major types of grapes — American (Vitis labrusca) European (Vitis vinifera), and Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) as well as hybrids make from combining American and European varieties. It’s the European varieties, such as this Cabernet grape, which prefer a warm and dry Mediterranean-type climate (zones 7-10) with a longer growing season, that are used in making wine. Mature wine grapes produce about 12 pounds per vine, and it takes 40 pounds to make 12 bottles. You’re going to need a lot of vines, but, seriously, how cool would that be?

So, ready to plant? .

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Hello! The team of our site prepared for you a lesson new drawing lesson, in which we will tell you how to draw grapes.

Step 1

So, first outline the silhouette of the vines and a few grapes that are closest to us, that is ahead of the rest. Note, that the vine does not have to be perfectly flat.

Step 2

Outline the contours of the leaf, and add some new grapes.

Step 3

Finish the leaf. Note, that the leaf has ragged edges. Using simple lines draw the veins on the leaf. Add some new grapes as in our example.

Step 4

Finish the vine and add tendril. Add some new veins on the leaf. Draw some new grapes. Outline the contours of the shadows on the grapes.

Step 5

Draw the remaining grapes. And outline the shapes of shadows on the remaining grapes. Apply a thick shadow in the areas between the grapes.

Step 6

Start adding the shadows. But first we would like to remind you of the structure of the shadow.

Now let’s work with the grapes. Find the source of the light (in our example the light comes from the upper left side). Apply shadow in several stages using the outlines from the previous steps. Using light hatching add the halftones. Then press down on the pencil a little harder to draw darker shadows. Don’t forget to leave the reflected light. Add some shadows to the vine.

Step 7

Continue adding the shadows. Draw the remaining shadows as in the example below. Don’t forget about the casting shadows.

It was the drawing lesson about how to draw grapes. Draw the grapes from different angles and of different sizes to improve your mastership. If this drawing lesson was interesting for you, subscribe to us on Google+. Goodbye!

This step by step tutorial explains how to a draw a bunch of grapes with grape leaves. The examples are fairly simple line drawings great for beginners.

Grapes drawing step by step

To make this tutorial easier it can be split into two parts. One is drawing the grapes and the other is drawing the leaves.

Alternatively you can draw both the leaves and the grapes at the same time by simply combining the corresponding steps for each one (Step 1 and 4, step 2 and 5, etc…).

Step 1 – Outline the Shape of the Grape Bunch

Grape bunch shape drawing

Sketch out the basic shape of the grape bunch by drawing a set of straight guide/construction lines to frame it’s overall form.

Step 2 – Draw the Grapes

Grape bunch grapes drawing

Now fill in the grape bunch “frame” by drawing the individual shape of each grape. For this stage draw the grapes that are mostly visible or that help define the shape of the bunch .

The grapes that are almost fully visible will be at the front and as the grape bunch curves around the grapes on the sides will become more and more hidden (overlapped by the grapes in the front). Be sure to take this into account when drawing.

Make sure to also draw the grapes of slightly varying size and shape. In this example most of the grapes are a light oval so they are also drawn at slightly different tilts to make them look more natural.

When drawing the bunch also leave a few small open spaces where the grapes are not too dense. This will be used in the next step.

Step 3 – Draw the Background Grapes

Grape bunch back grapes drawing

Now draw some hints of the background grapes in the small spaces left in between the foreground grapes in the previous step.

Step 4 – Draw the Pedicel

Grape bunch drawing

Finally draw the pedicel (the part the grapes actually hang on to). Most of the pedicel will be hidden by the grapes so you can once again draw it in the openings where the grapes are less dense. Draw the pedicel going behind the foreground grapes but over top of the background grapes. Erase any overlapping parts where you need to.

After you are done you should have a finished drawing of the grape bunch. You can leave your drawing at that or if you want to go a little further you can move on to the next step.

Step 5 – Sketch the Basic Shape of the Leaves

Grapes with leaves sketch drawing

To make the grape bunch look more interesting you can add a pair of grape leaves behind it and a small section of the grape vine above.

Once again use straight construction lines to sketch out the rough outer shape of the grape leaves.

Grape leaf drawing

You can see the general shape of a grape leave in the illustration above if you need something to reference.

Step 6 – Draw the Outline of the Leaves

Grapes with leave shapes drawing

Now inside the straight line framework draw the actual organic shape of the leaves.

Step 7 – Draw the Petioles

Grapes with leave outlines drawing

Clean up the guide lines from the previous step and from each leaf project the petiole towards the vine.

Please note that in this drawing technically only the leaf on the left grows from the vine. The leaf on the right comes from a different vine (not shown) so draw it’s petiole going slightly past the vine the left leaf comes from.

Step 8 – Draw the Veins

Grapes drawing

Now inside the shape of the leaves draw the veins branching out in different directions.

You will notice that the leaves have some pointy parts on their edges. Each one of these will usually have a vein going to it’s tip so draw accordingly.

Conclusion

A line drawing of a grape bunch is not very complicated thing to make but adding the leaves can get a little more challenging.

If you like this tutorial you can also try:

  • How to Draw a Peach Step by Step Tutorial
  • How to Draw a Tree Branch With Leaves
  • How to Draw Grass in 3 Different Ways Tutorial

Grape Vine Plants

Winemaking Grapes

Organic sugar compounds found within the grapes ferments and preserves the grape juice into wine. The sugars are converted into ethyl alcohol that acts a preservative and when bottled in an atmosphere without oxygen, the resulting wine can keep for centuries. It is not surprising that European grapes (called Vitis vinifera) were developed commercially, and are now grown as separate cultivars.
Grapes were selected over the centuries based on which variety produced the finest flavored wines with the most desirable aromas and tastes. This not only depended on the weather and the grape vine, but also by the influence of the earth that the vines would grow in. These selections evolved from Europe and were hybridized with wild grape vines from America by Cornell University researchers and New York Agricultural College at Ithaca and Geneva, New York. The scientists used these hybrids to create new cultivars with thinner skins that were seedless and perfect for eating and fine wine production. America’s wild species of grapes that were found growing in the Southern U.S., were also more resistant to diseases because of the thicker skin and the bigger seeds. Muscadine grape and scuppernong grape vines are typically planted for grocery store sales and for pick-your-own vineyard operations.

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