Grapes are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They have been cultivated since ancient times and they were even used as medicine during some periods. Today, grapes are grown all over the world including North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Grapes grow well in a wide range of soil types but prefer fertile soils with good drainage conditions.

The first thing you need to know before starting to grow your own grapevines is how to identify them. There are two main varieties of grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Both these wines are made from the same vine so it makes sense that they would taste similar too. However, there are subtle differences between the two which will affect their flavour and appearance.

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are usually smaller than Merlot grapes. They tend to be rounder and thinner. Their skin colour ranges from pale yellow/golden brown to light greenish-yellow. The flesh of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes tends to be sweeter than those of Merlot grapes.

Some growers add sugar or honey to Cabernet Sauvignon wine in order to make it more palatable for consumers.

Merlot grapes are medium sized and usually have a more oval shape rather than round. Their skin colour is deeper and darker than it is for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Merlot grapes have a richer flavour than the first variety, making their wine more popular among wine drinkers. Merlot grapes are less sweet than their Cabernet Sauvignon counterparts which means that winemakers do not need to add any extra sugar in order to make their wines palatable.

Whichever variety of grapevine you choose to grow, you will need to prepare the soil in the same way. Grapes need fertile soil that is high in organic matter and has a pH level of between 6 and 7.

In order to grow your grapevines, you need to dig a trench at least one foot deep and two feet wide. Fill the bottom of the trench with gravel or crushed rock then layer it with organic material such as peat moss or compost. Fill the trench with soil and compost until it is three feet deep. This will provide your roots with the fertile soil they need to ensure that they grow well.

Plant your grapevines on the edges of your trench and space them about two or three feet apart. Train the vines to grow along wires or horizontal poles using a technique known as cordons. Add more poles every couple of feet in order to give your vines something to grow on as they spiral around them.

Sources & references used in this article:

Improvement of shoot-tip graftingin vitro for virus-free citrus by L Navarro, C Roistacher… – Journal of the American …, 1975 – researchgate.net

Citrus growing in Florida. by LK Jackson – Citrus growing in Florida., 1991 – cabdirect.org

Citrus fruit: biology, technology and evaluation by M Ladanyia, M Ladaniya – 2010 – books.google.com

Citrus shoot tip grafting in vitro by L Navarro – High-Tech and Micropropagation II, 1992 – Springer

Citrus flowering by TL Davenport – Horticultural Reviews, 1990 – books.google.com

Classical biological control of Asian citrus psylla by MA Hoy, R Nguyen, A Jeyaprakash – Citrus Industry, 2001 – swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu

The biology of citrus by P Spiegel-Roy, EE Goldschmidt – 1996 – books.google.com

Induction of triploid Citrus plants from endosperm calli in vitro by FG Gmitter, XB Ling, XX Deng – Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 1990 – Springer

Effective antibiotics against ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ in HLB-affected citrus plants identified via the graft-based evaluation by M Zhang, Y Guo, CA Powell, MS Doud, C Yang… – PloS one, 2014 – journals.plos.org

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