One of the earliest known recorded vineyards was depicted in an Egyptian wall painting, showing the typical harvesting and stomping of grapes.
The Babylonians later lent their vineyard techniques to the Greeks, who passed them on to the Romans.
From there, wine vineyards sprang up all over Europe and eventually to New World locations in America, Australia, or anywhere the need was great to satisfy a taste for the grape.
Then, as now, the rows of neatly placed green grape vines may seem beautiful and romantic
from the other side of the fence, but ask any grape grower and
you'll find that working a vineyard is demanding -- physically, financially
Like all farmers, the people who raise wine grapes are subject to weather, market fluctuations, and microscopic
critters that would love to eat the fruits of their labor... and
the plants the fruit grows on. Whether the
vineyard is in California, Bordeaux or Australia, the concerns are the same.
Do you really want to own your own vineyard?
Novices to owning a vineyard are advised to mull over how steadfast their passion is for the hard work it takes.
Like a successful marriage, it should never be taken lightly unless you're ready for a deep commitment. Owning a vineyard is not for the faint of heart!
To start out, it's probably better to grow your own grapes than to be subject to market fluctuations in costs. Ask yourself what kind of wine grapes you want to grow, and which wines the market will bear. It also helps to bone up on oeneology and viticulture, or the serious science of growing grapes and the troubleshooting expertise that comes with it.
Do you grow grapes on flat land or easily drainable sloping hills? Remember that it's virtually impossible to get a mechanical harvester up a steep incline, so hiring seasonal workers for hand picking grapes becomes an absolute necessity.
Besides the natural vagaries of wind and weather, you'll also want to take into account financial start-up costs ranging at least into the high hundreds of thousands. This includes winemaking equipment (harvesters, vats, crushers, bottling machines) and supplies (bottles, labels, corks, foils.)
Later, there are marketing expenses -- and don't forget you'll be spending lots of time attending wine events and festivals throughout the year to get your name out there. (Do you own a company website? Better get one of those, too.)
Today, the current rage for organic wine growing presents it's own set of challenges. These include natural methods for keeping bugs and other insect pests away, as well as natural means for fighting mildew and a host of other grapevine diseases you're likely to encounter in any vineyard.
of the hardships, vintners seem never to lose the love of the
plant and the wine it produces. Bringing in a good harvest is
like watching a child grow up : its a heady mix of pride, thankfulness and
Around the Web, find out more about the business of growing a vineyard from and for people who live the life
and are willing to share news, ideas, problems and their solutions...
More information about starting a vineyard around the Web:
Business - Grape Growing - This business-oriented site
carries the latest headlines and the stories to match. Pricing,
legislation, growing conditions and crop predictions are just
some of the areas covered.
Business Online - Online industry magazine for professionals
with a US focus. Articles, news, sales of bulk grapes, barrels
and other supplies and jobs listed.
Australian Wine Research Institute - This group may have
been founded to give the Aussies a competitive edge, but they
are willing to share some of what they've learned with outsiders
with a virtual library of information on grape growing.
- Eye candy galore - from a professional photographer with a love
of the grape - including stunning shots of vineyards & wineries,
with related Web cam.