Viticulture is the cultivation and harvesting of grapes which deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. When the grapes are used for winemaking, it is known as viniculture. Viticulturists use their expertise to understand the right time to harvest grapes for ripeness and quality, prevent pests, fertilize their vineyards, prune, and design sustainable farming programs.
What Makes a Suitable Vineyard?
An important first step in starting a vineyard involves understanding which grape cultivars are best suited for your specific region. Due to the Midwest’s cold winter climates, only cold-hardy grape varieties tend to thrive in this region with the exception of one small region in Southeast Iowa. Most of Iowa falls under Zone 4b and 5a in the Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which determines which plants will survive in your area’s climate conditions. It’s important to match cultivars with the region you intend to grow in and avoid developing your vineyard in an area that cannot support grape growth suitable for your conditions.. Use Review of Cold Climate Cultivars to learn more about various cold-hardy grape varieties often grown in the Midwest.
Your land’s soil quality will determine whether or not you can sustain a healthy crop yield year after year. In order to maintain your vineyard over the long-term, utilize resources like the Iowa Soils Sustainability Index, which provides various soil maps and soil type information for each Iowa county. This information can help you gain a better understanding of the basic properties of soil for better crop management, soil nutrient management, and soil conservation.
Viticulture Forms & Resources
Find important resources from the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute to help you start your vineyard, estimate grape yields, form management strategies, and care for your vineyard year-round.