Grapes have been cultivated in vineyards for centuries to produce table grapes, raisins, grape juices, and, of course, the wine we all know today. Some build vineyards for aesthetic purposes, others say they do so to enjoy homemade wine with their family and friends, and still others, of course, cultivate vineyards because the global interest in wine has made it an extremely lucrative business.
Currently, depending on where you’re located, a well-cultivated vineyard can be worth up to $1 million per acre. If you’re an avid gardener looking to put up a successful vineyard of your own, here are some of the important aspects you need to consider to make sure you get off to a great start.
Choosing What You’ll Grow in Your Vineyard
If you’ve been interested in vineyards for a while now, you probably already know that modern wines are named after the variety of grapes they’re mostly made from, and there are a lot of them. The grape variety you choose to grow is really up to your preferred taste, especially if your main purpose for starting your vineyard is creating wine for personal consumption. You can choose depending on its resulting sweetness, acidity, tannin, body, and flavor. However, if you’re looking to sell the wine you produce, you may want to look at which varieties sell the most. For example, in 2019, the top-selling wine variety was Cabernet Sauvignon, which earned a total of about $2.75 billion in net sales in the US. Chardonnay wines, made from the green-skinned grape variety of the same name, came second at $2.55 billion.
Planning Your Vineyard Location
There are various factors that affect the viability of your vineyard, and most of these have to do with your vineyard’s location. Decide first on how big you want your vineyard to be, so that you can choose a location that can accommodate that — too small can prevent you from expanding in the future, while a lot too large can be costly if you aren’t able to tend to it all. Next, you need to choose an area with an optimal landscape. Grapes grow best in sloped locations because the soil tends to be well-drained. Moreover, grapes do well in the sun, so planting your grapes North-South will allow them to intercept maximum sunlight exposure.
Optimizing Soil Quality
The soil you grow your grapes in is very crucial to your vineyard, too. Grapes optimally grow in mildly acidic to neutral soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.5. If you’re not sure about the state of your soil, having a soil report done can tell you not just its pH level but also nutrients, and the amount of organic matter found in it. The amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and Potassium found in the soil determines a number of important factors, such as your plants’ ability to properly metabolize as well as fight off disease. Making sure you have the optimum soil quality can do wonders in growing a high-yielding and disease-free vineyard.
Accounting For the Costs
Cultivating a vineyard is an amazing feat, but it certainly isn’t cheap, especially if you’re planning to make it a business. Starting your very own vineyard can cost between $560,000 and $2 million if you factor in the land, labor, machinery, and trellis system. Accounting for all the aforementioned costs can help determine whether your business progresses, so be sure to use this information in creating a detailed business plan to combat costs and generate profit. While vineyards do involve a lot of money, they can also yield great returns if everything is planned out in an efficient and detailed manner.
Growing grapes is a relatively straightforward process, and seasoned gardeners will have the skills necessary to properly cultivate them. But of course, to ensure the viability of your vineyard, you will need to choose the most favorable grape variety, location, soil quality, as well as make the most practical financial and economical decisions. These can make it seem all the more daunting. But with thorough planning, cultivating your vineyard can be an exciting, profitable, and fruitful — pun intended — undertaking to commit to.
Featured image – Vineyard grapes / Jill Wellington from Pexels