Let's get our hands dirty!
Growing grapes is one thing, getting everything ready to plant them is another. Early on we decided that we would start with one acre of vines to give us something to cut our teeth on and grow with (pun intended lol). Prior to fully moving to North Carolina, we had ordered the vines for our first acre. We ordered enough vines for a ½ acre of Vermentino and a ½ acre of Montepulciano. Step one vines on order, check. There is a lot more to it than just planting the vines, you must lay out the rows and make sure that you have enough rows laid out to accommodate the vines. While this was going on we had to also buy a tractor to be able to work the land as well as prep the soil for the vines. This was interesting considering I have only driven a tractor once and my wife has never driven one so it was kind of intimidating to make sure we got one that could accommodate all our needs. Fortunately, we have had some awesome advice and help from our neighboring vineyards to help us through. Step 2 rip the rows, with the tractor in hand (what a beast this is) we ripped the rows where the vines are going to be planted. You have a big, long shank that you pull behind the tractor and go deep into the soil, busting it loose thus giving the vines the ability to grow their roots deep and establish themselves with good growth opportunity. Step 3 put in the end post and line posts. We hired a crew to pound in the end and line posts. The end posts are what your trellising system is attached to. They are pounded in deep and at an angle to be able to hold the weight of the grapes and the vines themselves. The line posts go in between the end post and are also a vital part of the trellising system. This work was all done during the brisk snowy winter. Next was to hurry up and wait for the shipment of the vines, we decided to delay the shipping of the vines to the end of April to minimize any impact from a late frost. The vines shipped and arrived in good shape. Then we prepped the vines for planting. This consisted of getting them in water to get them acclimated and give them a haircut (trim the roots to a uniform length and stimulate them. At this same time, we marked where the vines were to be planted, rented a commercial auger, and augured (dug) approximately 840 holes to plant the vines in. Finally, we scheduled the crew to help us plant the vines. A lot of work was put in to get the first acre in the ground. Now the real fun begins nurturing with love and care the new baby vines.