PinRoma
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Old Grape Vine - In Partial Sun & Only Produces Small Grapes

I have 'inherited' an unknown grape vine that sits in partial sun. It seems fairly old, but only produces small grapes and is getting rather unruly. We are in zone 9, in hot Rome, Italy.

Any suggestions on how to maintain it and get some decent sized fruit out of it?
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Grape vine this spring
Grape vine this spring

JONA
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Re: Grape vine help

Hi PinRoma
Select which are the main frame branches that you want to keep. These carry no fruit themselves but they do make the shape and framework for the fruiting side branches.
Once you have decided which ones are to stay, cut back all the side shoots coming off these branches to just two or three buds.
These will each grow out and be allowed to carry a bunch of grapes.
After harvest, and once the vine is dormant,they are again cut back for the following years crop.
Any excess main branches remove completely. This stops the whole vine from becoming a tangled mess as well as getting good light onto the fruit and removing over cropping stress from the plant.
John

PinRoma
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Re: Grape vine help

Jona, That was a very clearly written response. Thanks!

Here in Rome, it is warm and there are already a few leaves fully sprouted. Is it too late to prune this year? I don't mind loosing some crop this year (it isn't really significant anyways since the growth is out of control). Would pruning now damage the plant itself?

JONA
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Location: Sussex. England

Re: Grape vine help

Go ahead,....the vine will weep though from the wounds...but no problem.
John

PinRoma
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Re: Grape vine help

No one likes to see a vine cry, but if I must, I must! Thanks!

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Re: Old Grape Vine - In Partial Sun & Only Produces Small Gr

I was born in Napa, California and had been around the winery industry in my youth, so I know a little bit about it. :P

Just a quick note to add that old vines tend to produce smaller but more concentrated fruit. That's why some wineries typically remove vines that are twenty years old or older in order to replace them with more productive younger vines.

Some wineries however keep these old vines precisely because the fruit flavor is more intense in the smaller grapes. These are called Ancient Vine or Old Vine.

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