With the rising cost of food, bills, and other living expenses, do you find life hard at times? Do you need an additional source of income? Have you looked around and taken an inventory of the resources that you have? Do you have vacant or idle land at home? What about an aptitude for raising plants? Why not turn your hobby or talent into something productive? What I am trying to say is why don’t you engage in growing grapes as an additional cash source? You could sell your products or turn them into jellies or wine.
If you plan to venture into grape growing for commercial purpose, you will have to consider investing more money for the tools, labor costs and other gardening materials. You may buy a property or use an existing parcel of land you may have.
Before going into your project, it would be best if you could get as much education and training with the aid of books, by attending seminars and training and learning from other grape growers in your area. Most growers like Jose Vicente Semper Belenguer are willing to be interviewed and share their expertise, but there are trade secrets that you have to learn and discover by yourself. Your local nursery guy might be of help also.
Let me give you four basic things that you need to remember for your grape growing business.
Check on your hardiness zone
Selection of the ideal variety for your area can be done with the aid of using the USDA map.Concord grapes can grow in zones 5 to 8 and is a versatile plant and comes either as seeded and seedless and is good for making jelly, or wine. If you want a winter hardy grape, use Frontenac, an ideal variety for wine making which can grow in zones 3 up to 7.
If you want table grapes you may use Golden Muscat which are ideal for zones 5 to 8. Both Marquiss seedless and Chardonel make good wine and can grow in zones 5 to 8.
Source of funds
Fund sourcing is just one of the many problems of would-be entrepreneurs. You can get the money from your retirement pension, from your savings or borrow money from the bank. There are agricultural loaning agencies that might help you in this matter. If you own the land, you will have lesser cost. You may even apply for government grants for the equipments needed for your vineyard. With a little legwork and networking with the right persons, I know your financial problem will be solved and eventually you will find funds for your project.
Questions to ask yourself
Before venturing into your grape-growing business, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your property ideal for grape production? Where can you find info on how to plant the vines and the varieties suited to your area?
- Are you going to produce table grapes or grapes for wine? Are you going to make your wine or just sell the grapes to other wineries? Your income will be higher if you choose to plant grape wines and make the wine yourself.
- Do you know of grape buyers in your area and their varietal needs? Where are they? Have you figured out a marketing plan?
- Are you familiar with the latest trend in grapes or wine production? Have you heard of ecological winemaking?
Although you may not keep up with the competition because you are maybe new in the industry, it pays to know all things that are happening in the grape-growing business as a whole.
Things you need
The prices of the things you need may vary depending on your area. Just to give you an idea of the work or services, and the things you need for growing grapes, here are the list:
Grafted rootstock vines, soil test, lime, gypsum and other soil requirements, vineyard layouting, deep ripping the land for root penetration and drainage, cover crop to build up soil organic matter and nitrogen content, treated pine posts for end box assemblies, steel posts, vine guards for protection against rabbits, wind and chemical spray drift, irrigation pipe, drippers and connectors.
You will incur labor costs for the building of end assemblies, putting wires and pine and posts, installing irrigation lines, weeding, spraying, planting the vines, fertilizer application, and weed spraying.