CuttingsWhen possible, I purchase bare root grape vines for early spring planting. This is the easiest way to go. However, some varieties are not available as bare root vines and only available as cuttings. These purchased cuttings must first be "rooted" before the can be planted. If you plant these rooted cuttings, a year later they become "bare root" vines if you clean away all the dirt when the vine is dormant.
Grape vines are propagated with cuttings (called "cloning"). If you propagate by seeds, the plant will differ from the parents in random ways. In fact, new varieties are obtained by selecting parents, pollinating, getting their seeds, then planting thousand of seeds and hoping for a few good new varieties.
Traditionally, cuttings are "rooted" (made to grow roots) by first "callusing" the cuttings by keeping them covered with moist paper towels until a white "callus" forms on the buds of the cane. Then these canes are planted in a mix of Perlite, peat moss and potting soil to grow, then transplanted into the ground or into a growing pot.
There are hydroponic methods that are used to clone plants. The plant is suspended in air and hit with a shower of water - 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. I have found this works very well to start root development of grape cuttings. See the photos below. This method yields fast, vigorous, and healthy growth.
Here is a 5 gallon bucket with water pump and shower head to spray the cuttings:
This is what it looks like with the cutting in the buckets:
Here is the result of a cutting sitting in the water spray for 4 weeks. Note the vigorous root and upper growth:
This is what the cuttings look like after 4 weeks. These are ready to be transferred into pots or directly into the ground:
For comparison, from the same batch of cuttings, note how much better the cuttings shown above are (done hydroponically) compared with those below (done traditionally). Both are 4 weeks old. The difference is striking: