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How Far Apart to Plant Grapes — All You Need to Know

How Far Apart to Plant Grapes — All You Need to Know

Just imagine having the freedom to incorporate farm-fresh grapes into a fruit salad or simply enjoy them as a snack? Amazing, right?

Well, you don’t need to live on a vineyard in Italy to grow these fruits.

They are hardy and they aren’t difficult to grow, which is why they’re so popular among professional and home gardeners alike.

Learn a few basics and you can start enjoying grapes that are bursting with juice, all summer long.

That said, one of the things you’ll need to master is how to space grape vines. Spacing these plants correctly is critical to grape production. 

If you grow them too closely, not only will you end up with a tangled mess but the quality of fruit will also be compromised. So here’s an in-depth guide for spacing grapes. 

 

How Far Apart to Plant Grapes?

Wine grapes require an 8-foot distance between rows and 6- to 8-feet of space between grapevines. For table grapes, leave 8- to 9-feet of space between the rows and 6- to 8-feet between the grapes. Muscadine varieties need a 20-foot distance between the grapes and at least 10 feet between the rows. 

 

Factors to Account For When Spacing Grapes

To determine what sort of spacing to use when planting grapes, there are a few things you should keep in mind, namely:

 

Species

Different varieties of grapes are spaced differently. To that end, we’ll take a look at three different classes of grapes:

 

Wine grapes

Have you ever thought to yourself, “why can’t I use grapes from the grocery store to make myself some delicious wine?”

Well, you’ve been wondering what a lot of people are afraid to ask, which is the difference between wine and table grapes.

Wine is made using a specific grape species known as the Vitis Vinifera.

Native to Europe, the Middle East and Mediterranean, these grapes have thick skin, a sweet flavor, and they’re fairly small in size. 

The thicker skin is what creates that deep red hue of wine. Similarly, they’re small so that they can provide a higher juice-to-skin ratio.

When it comes to planting, the ideal spacing is at least 8 feet of distance between the rows. And when it comes to the vines, space them as far apart as 6 to 8 feet.

 

Table grapes

These are the fruits you’re likely to find in your grocery store. As such, they’re grown primarily for consumption rather than winemaking.

While wine grapes come solely from the Vitis Vinifera species, table grapes are derived from the Vitis Vinifera as well as Vitis Labrusca species. 

They also have thin skin, which is much easier to chomp into as you eat. Their flavor is slightly sweet but with a pleasing tart, and they’re much larger in size. 

For table grape varieties, you’ll want to space the rows of vines about 8 to 9 feet.

As for the grapes, leave a space of 6 feet for Vitis vinifera species and at least 8 feet for the Vitis Labrusca and other hybrids. 

 

Muscadine grapes

The muscadine grapes are scientifically known as Vitis rotundifolia. They’re native to the southeastern part of the United States.

However, you may also find them being grown in the wine-producing states of Oregon, California and Washington.

At first glance, you may mistake them for table grapes.

But if you look keenly, you’ll notice that muscadines are bigger, rounder and their skins are thicker. They’re mostly used in the production of artisanal wines and jellies.

Also crucial to note is their vines grow quite rampantly, especially during the growing season.

In fact, they can reach heights of 10 to 25 feet long. 

As such, they require more spacing between the vines and rows. We recommend spacing the rows between 10 and 13 feet, and the grapevines at least 18 feet apart. 

 

Location and Harvesting Technique

Another factor that plays into how you space your grapes is location. Are you growing your grapes in a small space in your backyard or a large vineyard? 

If you’re planting in a vineyard, and plan to use a tractor or other machinery to harvest, you should leave plenty of space between the rows.

You can space the rows anywhere between 6 and 12 feet apart, depending on the size of the harvesting equipment. 

But if you’re planting them in your backyard, it means you can simply harvest by hand.

This then eliminates the need to space your rows widely.

In fact, a space of as little as 3 feet is sufficient to allow you to move around come harvest time.

 

Proximity to Structures

Apart from spacing between the rows and grapevines, you’ll also need to think about the stationary objects present near the planting site. 

Avoid planting grapevines too close to your home, garage, workshop, shed or any other fixed object. 

This is because positioning them too close could cause light and airflow to be obstructed.

Without these resources, your plants’ health will be at risk. For this reason, you’ll want to plant your grapes no less than 6 to 10 feet away from structures. 

If you’re planting in an arbor that happens to be attached to your home, train the vines to grow along the arbor where there aren’t any grapes planted.

This way, they can access the necessary resources. 

 

Topography and Climate

Another factor that should guide your spacing decision is the site’s exposure to sun and wind. 

Here’s the thing, if your area experiences very windy conditions, spacing your grapevines and rows closer together is in your best interest. This way, the grape trees can shield each other from strong winds. 

On the same note, consider how much sun your vineyard receives.

Position the grapevines in such a way that allows them to tap into that natural light so they can grow healthily.

An open and fairly sunny spot that enjoys early morning sunlight lasting up to late in the afternoon is the best. 

 

The Bottom Line

Setting up a vineyard requires a decent amount of work and commitment.

Some of the factors you need to consider include site location, sun exposure, and soil preparation. 

Another thing that should be at the top of your to-do list is to pick a vine and row spacing scheme that will work for you. 

Choosing this system will depend on several things such as the variety of grapes you plan to grow, the proximity of your garden to fixed structures, harvesting approach and the surrounding topography and climatic conditions.