Baby Petite Pearl Grape Vine

Planting a Vineyard

Planting A Vineyard in the Poconos

For farmers, the excitement rivals opening day of baseball season at Citi Field, but this is a much different field — a vineyard field. Randy and the crew are pumped for opening day of planting season. They’re planting a new vineyard along Walter’s Road in Hamilton Township, Monroe County.

This vineyard will produce Petite Pearl grapes. They make a fine, dry, full-bodied, red wine.

You can see how we plant about ten vines per minute in the video below. Randy is quite excited to make his YouTube debut here!

The Vineyard Planting Process

In the weeks before planting, we paint guide lines in the field to make sure every row lines up just right.

These are baby Petite Pearl grape vines. They hold up well during tough winters and they are highly disease resistant.

That’s Royce from Eagle Rest Cellars adjusting the single chisel plow on the tree planter we use to prepare the field. Thanks for helping Royce!

Randy is living his dream pulling the plow on his tractor and planting a vineyard in the Poconos.

As the tractor moves, Royce grabs vines and places them into the dirt the plow turns up. The seat wheels push the dirt back together to hold each vine.

The crew follows behind to make sure all 3,200 vines are set well. Thanks Frank and Audra for putting in a hard day’s work!

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day on the farm. In all, we planted seven acres.

Now, we just have to be patient. It will be at least three years before we can harvest grapes from these vines. Then, it will take some time to press them and ferment the juice. We don’t mind though. We have more than a dozen wine varieties on the shelf to choose from for now.

Good things come to those who wait!

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Comments 5

  1. Greetings and all the best with your new vineyard. I will try to be brief. Seeing that you are in the Poconos, I was wondering if it would be possible to plant a small amount of Petite Pearl vines in the Western Catskills. My concerns are that I am in zone 5a and the soil is clay and rocky. Did you have to enhance your soil in any way before you planted the vines? I have a slightly sloping spot with a southwestern exposure that I would like to plant on. It gets plenty of sun, but a late frost is usually guarantied each year. i am ready to move forward and prepare the site this year for planting next spring. My plan is to start small with 10 vines. Would it be possible for you to share some of your thoughts on this with me? This would be a big help in getting started.
    Thank you and be well, Tom

    1. Tom, the conditions you describe are very similar to the farm where we’re growing petite pearl. We have a lomey clay soil with plenty of shell (lots of rock helps with drainage). It’s typical for us to get late spring frost as late as Mother’s Day. Petite Pearl tends to push late and this year seems to have made it with no frost damage whatsoever. My only concern is your slope. Grapevines do not do well in standing water, their root systems will rot. I would not plant grapevines in a field with less than a 5% slope and 10 to 15% is even better. Sun requirements are usually suggested for six hours of direct sunlight per day but more is better. I am very excited about the Petite Pearl vine and its potential to making excellent wine. A friend of mine has been growing Petite Pearl for around six years now and has found them to be extremely disease resistant (maybe even able to be grown organically) and producing very nice fruit. Hope this has been helpful. Randy

  2. Hi Randy,

    Thank you for getting back to me with your helpful thoughts on starting a small vineyard. I am in the middle of a gradually sloping hill that begins at around 1,900 feet above sea level and slopes down to about 600 or 700 feet. There are high and low spots within the slope and water does accumulate in some of the low spots. I picked out one of the high spots as a possible location for the 10 vines I hope to plant in 2 rows of 5 vines running directly on a north/south line.
    Since I have some time, I was wondering if I should dig out the holes and enhance the soil with organic matter such as grass clippings, shredded leaves, cellulose, etc. this summer before I plant next spring. I did that with some fruit trees, and it was a lot of work for a guy in his 70s, but it might pay off in the long run. If you have some advice on that, I would appreciate you sharing it with me.
    Thanks again for getting back to me. i do plan on visiting Mountainview at some time this summer so perhaps i can thank you in person.

    1. Hi Tom,
      We do not modify the soil before planting. We do build the soil using compost after planting. Taking petiole samples after a couple of years will keep you on track. Hope to see you this summer, Randy

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