Choosing the right varietal for your first vineyard - Vinelytics

Choosing the right varietal for your first vineyard

Before making any decisions about your first vineyard you need to consider a myriad of factors. One of the most important is choosing the correct varietal and rootstock for your soil type and terrior versus your palate. Most first time or aspiring winegrowers often make the mistake of choosing a popular varietal or a varietal that they enjoy drinking rather than what would grow well in their environment. For example, if you live in an area that has long periods of extremely high temperatures coupled with a sandy, rocky or well draining soil type then a good varietal would be one that is hearty such as a Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. You wouldn’t want to plant pinot noir in an area that doesn’t have the delicate conditions that pinot noir grows best in.

We're not saying that you cant grow what you like but it’s a far most effective practice to do your homework on what will have a better chance of success growing in your area. You may very well live or have your vineyard in an area where the conditions match what is preferred to grow your favorite grape and in that case, it’s a win-win!

Another good exercise is to look at different regions of the winegrowing world and see what varietals grow best there. Study the regions terrior, soil type, average daily temperatures, varietals grown in the region by top producers, etc. Compare all of this data to your area. This will help you narrow down your list to a handful of varietals that will give you the best opportunity for successful planting.

Another resource that is commonly overlooked is utilizing professionals to aid you in your decision. Most nurseries are more than happy to offer their advice on what you should be looking for. They also will let you know what rootstocks are most suitable for your area as well and will help you find the best combination of rootstock and varietal. You can also reach out to your local vintners association to find local wine growers to ask their advice. The wine industry is one industry that shares knowledge (to a certain degree!) and wants to help newcomers achieve their goals.