We only have a small piece of property - 1/4 acre under cultivation. It is crowded, not enough sun, and on a northern slope - so conditions are not ideal. However, whatever does well under these conditions should do even better with an environment more suitable for grape growing.

Ideally, grapes should be grown on a trellis, spaced 6-8' apart (depending on the cultivar) and in rows far enough apart to fit a tractor. We only have room to space the vines 4' apart in most cases. Most of my vines are trained cane-pruned, vertical shoot positioned.

Some of the grapes are grown on a grape arbor, and some on angled cow-panels.

Trials should also have a "statistically significant" number of grape vines for each variety tested. However, we do not have the room and with a few exceptions, only one grapevine of each variety is planted. Some vines have been in the ground for as long as 7 years (planted in 2010), others less time. Most of the vines for this study were planted in 2015-2018. Some of these, due to time constraints were planted too late in the season (August and September) and died over the winter and will need replanting in Spring 2017.

Protection from wildlife is also needed - netting and fences - to protect from birds, deer, raccoons, ground hogs, etc. This we have. Chipmunks and wasps also eat grapes, but they do not eat much, so I take no protective measures against these. Gophers and other critters underground can eat grapevine roots, but I have not experienced much loss in this regard.

2016 and 2017 were particularly bad years with a deluge of chipmunks and gypsy moth caterpillars.

Fortunately, the gypsy moth caterpillars do not like grape vines and have been no problem at all.

Instead, the gypsy moth caterpillars seem to prefer the leaves of oak trees, blueberries, strawberries, chestnuts, hazelnuts, apples, and plums. We have spent a lot of time the past 3 years handpicking caterpillars off our bushes and trees. The oak trees were completely stripped bare of leaves.

Gypsy moth caterpillars thrive during dry springs. During wet springs a virus spreads that kills most of them. NPV is a nucleopolyhedrosis virus that affects only Gypsy moths. Typically, 1 to 2 years after an outbreak begins, the NPV disease causes a major die-off of the caterpillars. This virus is the most important factor in Gypsy moth die-offs. In fact, this virus causes the caterpillars to run for the treetops where they die. The virus multiplies fiercely in almost every cell of the caterpillar's body. Their bodies liquefy and sends virus particles onto their brothers and sisters below infecting them as well. Birds eating the caterpillars also help spread the virus, as do chipmunks and mice. There are also many beneficial insects that kill gypsy moths like beetles, stink bugs, wasps, and flies.

It remains to be seen what the large number of chipmunks do with the grapes once they ripen. In 2015, the oak trees dropped a huge number of acorns - that probably explains this year's abundance of chipmunks. The chipmunks have tunnels everywhere throughout the garden area this year. Our cat gets one or more daily and there are more snakes than usual to get some of the others, but the number of chipmunks is still excessive this year. Perhaps with the Gypsy moth caterpillars devastating the oak trees this year, there will be less acorns and thus less chipmunks next year. Since the garden area is fenced in, predators like fox cannot get in to eat the chipmunks - this contributes to the large numbers.