Franco Parrella – Grape Growing History
In the early years of the 21st-century grape growing and production doubled in Australia and while grape growing continues to grow in Australia it is no longer at such as quick rate as it was within those years. Grape growing and production is found all over Australia in all states however, the three largest states of production are South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales where the areas of Riverland, Sunraysia and the Riverina all respectively produced the mass of the nation’s grapes. In 2015 South Australia recorded almost 46% of the nation’s grape growing production with over 700,000 tonnes of grapes grown in the Riverland however, Victoria recorded the largest increase with production rising 15% throughout the year.
As is obvious wine production is the largest industry for grape growing with 60 wine-producing vineyards throughout Australia such as Yarra Valley, Hunter Valley, Mudgee and Clare Valley all contributing to the grape growing of Australia. While these areas across Australia are known for their grape production, and some even double as a tourist attraction for those wishing to go see how wine is produced through grape growing as well as getting to taste at its origin, it is possible to grow grapes in your own backyard.
Grape vines are one of the most vigorous growers, as they can produce fruit easily and can last for over 30 years. If you are looking to grow grapes in your own backyard it is important to purchase a grape vine from a reputable nursery where the plants have been grown to be around one year of age. In planting these grape vines it is important to plant them in early spring while using a trellis, which is often a pole or stake, to support it in its early years. You must also soak the roots of these grape vines in water for two to three hours. Now most importantly, in choosing the spot for these plants to grow through these plants to be placed in a site of full sun, where the soil is deep and well-drained and has good air circulation.
While these plants can last over 30 years and make grape growing a great hoppy and past-time, it is important to care for these plants and this can be a difficult job at times, however, a rewarding job in the end. What may be surprising to some first time grape growers, is that the grape vine shouldn’t be allowed to produce fruit within its first couple of years in order for it to strengthen its root system. Pruning is also of the utmost importance, without it the vines would run out of control and the canes would only produce fruit once, limiting its production. In keeping with the early growth of the plant, it is also suggested to not fertilise the plant within the first year and only lightly in the second year of growth. You can also use mulch to keep moisture evenly placed around the vines.
Now the most important time for grape growers comes during the harvest season and here are some tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your grapes. Make sure you test a few of your grapes before you go and pick them all at once as once they are picked from the vine they will not ripen anymore. The best time to harvest is usually in late summer where they are rich in colour, juicy and easily crushed. Grapes also absorb the odours of other fruits so make sure when storing them that you keep them away in from other fruits, where they can be stored in a cellar for up to six weeks. If you follow these tips you can be on your way to producing your own juicy grapes and wine.