How to cultivate grapes? A Complete Guide

How to cultivate grapes?
How to cultivate grapes?

This blog contains detailed information about the cultivation practice of grapes. Through this blog, you will get to know all the necessary conditions to cultivate grapes and the challenges associated with it.

One of the most significant and profitable horticultural crops grown in India is the grape (Vitis vinifera L.). It is an economically important fruit crop in the South Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. Grape is also profitably grown in the northern Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. Grape growing has been regarded as one of the most profitable enterprises. Still, the high initial establishment cost and continuing expenditure are vital hindrances to the spread of this crop.

Climate

  • Grapes thrive in a long, dry, and rainless summer with plenty of sunshine, followed by a cold winter that induces dormancy in the vines.
  • Temperature is a crucial element determining the grape composition and quality. Heat units or “degree days,” which measure temperature time, can describe the total quantity of heat received.
  • For a given cultivar to ripen, precise heat units are needed. Early ripening cultivars require 1600 heat units, while late ripening varieties need 3500 heat units.
  • With rising altitudes, the sugar content of berries often falls significantly. Dry weather during flowering and fruit maturation is necessary to cultivate grapes of high quality.
  • Heavy and early rains are bad for cultivating late-ripening grape varieties because they cause the berries to crack and crop deterioration. The berries remain tasteless and do not develop sweetness in such circumstances.
  • Additionally, humid conditions encourage the spread of fungal diseases.
Grapes
Grapes

Soil

Throughout India and other parts of the world, grapes are adapted to various soil types. The majority of soil types are regarded as being appropriate for the development of grapes since they have a robust root structure. However, sandy loam that is well drained, relatively fertile, and has a significant amount of organic matter is the ideal soil for grapes. Heavy clays, extremely shallow soils, poorly drained soils, and soils with high salt concentrations should all be avoided. Compared to many other fruit crops, grape vines are relatively tolerant of salinity and alkalinity. However, too much lime is detrimental to grape cultivation.
The best soils for growing grapes are those with a pH of 6.5 to 8.5.

Varieties of grapes

Table grapes

Himrod, Kali Sahebi, Kandhari, Khalili, Pandari Sahebi, Perlette, Selection 94, Pusa Seedless, Thompson Seedless, Anab-e-Shahi, Bangalore Blue, Beauty Seedless, Bhokri (Pachadrakshi), Cheema Sahebi, Delight, Gulabi (Panneer Drakshi, Muscat Hamburg), and Himrod Seedless.

Raisin Grapes

Arkavati, Thompson Seedless

Wine Grapes

Bangalore Blue, Arka Kanchan, and Thompson Seedless

Planting and Propagation

  • The typical planting season lasts from October to January. Planting is occasionally done in June through July when the monsoon comes late. Planting during the monsoon is avoided primarily to prevent infections on tender growth.
  • Trench openings are made to plant in a North-South direction. The trench width should be 60 to 75 cm broad and deep.
  • This is followed by adding FYM, organic manures, 5:10:5 organic combinations, single super phosphate fertilizers, biofertilizers, neem cakes, etc., to these trenches. Plant spacing is maintained depending on the soil type, variety, and training technique.
  • To accommodate vines with a density of 2000–5000 plants per hectare, the spacing between two rows should be 2–3 m, while the gap between vines within a row will be half that.

Propagation

  • Hardwood cuttings are the most frequent method of grapevine propagation. However, seed-based soft-wood cutting, layering, grafting, and budding are also occasionally used.
  • Unrooted cuttings are also positioned in a specific location in the field. IBA treatment at 1000 ppm for hardwood cuttings promotes early, superior, and uniform germination.
  • Varieties like Ramsey, 1616, 1613, 1103P, So4, etc., are used for grafting.
  • On occasion, suitable types are grafted onto rootstocks that have been planted in the field.

Irrigation in grapes

In India, the majority of grapes are produced in semi-arid, dry regions with low rainfall and substantial evapotranspiration losses. As a result, additional irrigation is required. The amount of water that vines need depends on their stage of development.

Irrigation intervals and stages:

  • Following fertilizer and pruning, vines are immediately irrigated. At 5-7 days intervals, watering is administered during the berry growth stage.
  • To enhance the quality of the fruit, water is withheld for at least 8 to 10 days before harvest. Pruning is followed by resuming irrigation.
  • Irrigation is administered at weekly intervals from summer pruning until the start of the rainy season and then at intervals of 10–12 days until winter pruning, depending on the state of the soil’s moisture content.

Water and nutrients must be delivered to grape plants precisely and on time, which calls for an effective precision irrigation system. Precision irrigation systems use less water than other irrigation techniques due to reduced runoff, deep percolation, and soil surface evaporation before and after watering events.

Training in grape vines

Training is a crucial component of growing grapevines and provides them with effective and consistent means to support their desired growth, especially for vines that exhibit greater apical dominance. The Bower, “T” system (telephone head), Kniffin, and Head systems are a few of the well-liked training techniques used in Indian grape vines.

Training systems

The bower system:

Most widely used for grape farming for commercial activity. This method is used in around 80% of the vineyards that grow grapes.

Bower system
Bower system

Kniffin method:

It is less expensive but less common due to the lower yield of this technique.

Kniffin system
Kniffin system

Telephone system:

The name comes from the fact that it resembles a telephone pole, wires etc. This technique is best suited for medium-vigorous varieties with higher apical dominance.

Telephone system
Telephone system

The head system:

It is less expensive, has very close spacing, has fewer disease outbreaks, and produces berries of a larger size.

Head system
Head system

Pruning of Grape Vines


Pruning involves cutting off the vine’s living canes, shoots, leaves, and other vegetative components. The grapevine grows acropetally (grows outwards towards the shoots) in nature, and if left untended, its branches will continue to lengthen and climb. Vine pruning controls or promotes good yield and enhances fruit size and quality. The purpose of pruning is to maintain the crop’s vigour for consistent productivity and to evenly distribute the fruit-bearing over the vines.

Types of pruning

Spur Pruning:

Spur pruning is the retention of 1-4 basal buds following pruning as fruiting canes. Spur pruning should be employed for the cost-effective production of those grape types that generate medium-sized clusters on shoots emerging from buds at the base of the canes. Spur pruning is used with varieties like Perlette.

Cane pruning:

This technique involves leaving a cane with more than four buds. It should be used with cultivars like Thompson Seedless, where the lower buds on the canes are typically sterile.

Mechanical pruning:

In this type of cane pruning, less number of canes are used per vine of the same length. It allows for better fruit positioning for mechanical harvesting than the alternative approach.

Fertigation requirements

VarietiesPart of IndiaNitrogen
Requirement 
kg/ha
P2O5 requirement
kg/ha
K2O requirement
kg/ha
Thompson Seedless
● Northern India
● Maharashtra
● Southern Karnataka
● 444-1100
● 666-1000
● 300
● 1332
● 500-888
● 500
● 1332
● 666-800
● 1000
Himrod/Gulabi● Northern India● 444-1100● 1332● 1332
Perlette● Northern India
● Karnataka
Telangana
● 365-600
● 500
435
● 300-550
● 500
305
● 182-1200
● 1000
785
Anab-e-Shahi● Maharashtra● 600● 240● 120
Cheema Sahebi● Northern India● 165

Pest management in grapes

The major pests of grapes are listed below. Farmers need to take necessary actions in order to control them.

Thrips

  • Nymphs and adults both inflict damage by sucking the cell sap and the bottom surface of the leaf with their stylets.
  • Numerous tiny spots that are present on the wounded area give the surface a speckled silvery appearance.
  • When the attack is significant, the leaves begin to curl.
  • The thrips also prey on growing berries and blooms.
  • The impacted berries get a corky covering, turn brown, and sell for very little money.
Thrips attack in grapes
Thrips attack in grapes

Control

  • Sanitation must be maintained to eliminate the root causes of thrips infection.
  • Weeds should be removed from the field to keep it tidy.
  • Plant debris from past crops is also a source of secondary thrips infestation.
  • Deep ploughing in the summer after April pruning, or exposing the soil in vineyards to the sun, aids in the destruction of its pupal stages and the reduction of its incidence.

Mealy Bugs

  • The deformation of leaves and shoot tips is caused by an infestation of the growth of pink mealybug.
  • Mealybug nymphs and adults emit honeydew, which promotes the development of sooty mould on leaves, stems, and bunches.
  • Mealybug-infested, sooty and sticky bunches with white cottony wax masses are unsuitable for sale as table grapes.
mealybugs in grapes
mealybugs in grapes

Control

  • Remove and destroy all of the garden debris that was clipped after a mealybug infestation.
  • Loose bark should be removed, and the material should be destroyed.
  • Removal of weeds and other host plants that shelter mealybugs in and around vineyards all year.
  • Finding the ant nests and eradicating them with a drenching of chemicals.

Grape leaf hoppers

  • The leaf develops a white spot after every puncture.
  • After the leaf hopper feeds on grapes, leaves and fruit start to look stippled with numerous tiny white spots. These patches eventually become brown and could hasten the fall of leaves.
  • The colour of the leaves could turn pale yellow, giving them a sickly appearance.
Grape leafhoppers
Grape leafhoppers

Control

  • Removing basal leaves or lateral shoots during berry set will help reduce peak leafhopper populations during the season by 30–50%.
  • Avoid removing too many leaves when growing plants in warmer climates because this can result in fruit that is burnt.
  • Keeping vegetative growth in check will also help control leafhoppers.

Spider mite

  • The upper surface of the leaves typically exhibits pale colour spotting as the most obvious sign of this damage.
  • The infested leaves become yellow. In severe infestations, the mites can consume up to 70% of the chlorophyll, which results in the development of brown burnt areas on the infected leaves, which eventually wither and dry.
  • On drying leaves, mites create a very fine, silk-like webbing.
Grapes spidermite
Grapes Spider mite

Control

  • Sanitation must be practised to get rid of the mite infestation sources. After pruning, plant waste can serve as a breeding ground for adult and immature mites. Thus it is essential to remove it.
  • Most mites will presumably be found in weedy vines. Therefore, it is important to get rid of weeds and other host plants in and around the vineyard.

Disease management in grapes

The major diseases of grapes are described below. Farmers should adopt the necessary control measures in order to protect their vineyards.

Anthracnose

  • Little light brown or greyish-black lesions appear on sensitive stems, young leaves, blossoms, and young berries.
  • As a result, short holes are made in the leaves, decreasing the functional leaf area.
  • Affected flowers do not produce fruit.
  • Additionally, the fungus creates cankers on the petioles and veins, and the leaves twist and distort.
  • The disease results in round, sunken brown patches on berries that have dark brown edges.
Anthracnose in grapes
Anthracnose in grapes

Control

  • When pruning, all twigs or canes with cankers should be eliminated.
  • The twigs and leaves that have been clipped should be burned or buried far underground.
  • In October and November, this disease is more severe. Sprays of protection should be applied to the young branches and new shoots during this time.

Downy Mildew

  • Young, mature leaves first show signs of light yellow dots on their upper surface and similar white patches on their underside.
  • Due to decreased photosynthetic activity, the affected leaf sections turn brown and cannot sustain the bunch’s development.
  • There are significant losses when the clusters are damaged before the fruit set.
  • Whole clusters dry out, decompose, and collapse.
Downy mildew in grapes
Downy mildew in grapes

Control

  • To reduce the damage caused by this disease, vines should be pruned after the second week of October.
  • At the time of pruning, all afflicted vine parts should be cut off.
  • Systemic fungicides shouldn’t be sprayed more than 2-3 times.

Powdery mildew

  • The disease can be identified by areas of white, ash-like powder on the undersides of leaves, young shoots, and immature berries.
  • The affected leaves become pale in colour and curl up. Affected shoots tend to be immature and frail.
  • Blossoms that are affected are unable to produce fruit. Young berries become corky when they are attacked.
  • The berries get covered in a white powdery layer after being extensively damaged and eventually fracture.
Powdery mildew in grapes
Powdery mildew in grapes

Control

  • Spraying should be done carefully because it can burn the berry skin and leave tiny black flecks.
  • The dust should be evenly distributed across the sections of the damaged plants. The disease can be controlled more effectively and for a longer period of time using systemic fungicides.

Weed management

  • Tractor-drawn weeding tools are used to eradicate weeds that spread out between vine rows. Row-specific weeds are physically pulled out.
  • Around 2 kg/ha of primary glyphosate or about 7.5 kg/ha of paraquat is used occasionally for treating weeds in fully developed vineyards.

Harvesting and yields

  • The typical grape harvest season runs from February until the end of April. At least 180 Brix-level mature bunches are picked.
  • Yield averages for seedless cultivars range from 20 to 30 t/ha/y.
  • 40 to 50 t/ha/y for cultivars that are seeded

Post-harvest management

Grading

Before packaging, sort the collected grapes according to their size, colour, and uniformity. Keep in mind that size refers to the size of the berries, not the bunch’s size or shape.

Pre-Cooling

Berries must be refrigerated to a temperature below 5 degrees C in the refrigerator or cold storage room within six hours of picking in order to minimize field heat and moisture loss. Large producers also employ mobile machines, such as refrigeration cars, to feed the fragile fruits after harvesting.

Storage

Spraying berries with fungicides such as Captan @0.2%, aureofungin @500 PPM, etc., can extend their shelf life by just 5-7 days. The best storage conditions are 0 degrees Celsius and 92–96% relative humidity.

How can Fasal assist?

  • In the realm of agricultural learning, Fasal’s iterative technology aims to revolutionize agricultural methods for a more sustainable future.
  • The technology developed by Fasal, which is based on the idea of precision farming, keeps an eye on the grapes, weather, and soil factors like soil moisture and leaf wetness to determine how well a grape tree is doing.
  • Fasal continuously monitors these factors, identifying any inconsistencies and calibrating a solution in conjunction with its in-depth understanding of a fruit’s ideal conditions.
  • When a site’s soil is overly damp, rain is predicted, or temperatures are ideal for the growth of grapes disease, our sensor will be able to pinpoint these situations.
  • With the help of sensors, farmers can meet the precise irrigation needs of grape trees & avoid chances of poor yield caused by over or under-irrigation.
  • Fasal’s machine learning technology interacts with the fruit using our farm-level data to alert viticulturists when their trees are at risk for disease.
  • Fasal System keeps a constant track of the soil and tree’s health along with their optimum mineral and water needs resulting in sweeter & healthier fruit quality.
  • Fasal also assists farmers in selling their produce at higher rates by providing Sorting, Grading, Packaging, and Logistics services.

Fasal is always working towards improving the lives of farmers and assisting them in achieving higher yields.

Let's connect!

We would love to talk to you and help you understand more about Fasal.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Previous Post
Cane maturity and Cane pruning in grapes

Cane maturity and Cane pruning in grapevines

Next Post
How to start a profitable fruit farm

How to Start a Profitable Fruit farming?

Related Posts
%d bloggers like this: