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Grapes - Vitis

For the most part Grapes are one of the easiest fruits to grow. They take up only a little space, and need very little care and can grow for up to 100 years! They like full sun and protection from strong winds. The vines tolerate salty air, so can be planted in coastal spots. The roots prefer a free-draining soil, so add bark, small stones and sand to heavy soil to improve drainage.  

Grafted plants is highly recommended in the North Island and in Marlborough where the phylloxera insects are more prevalent. This is to ensure a healthy and productive plant, and to be responsible to nearby grape growers. Phylloxera is a very small insect that feeds on the roots. It is devastating, so most vineyards are now planted out with these specially bred rootstocks that are  resistant to the bug. Phylloxera is unlikely to be a problem in home gardens, however, and at this stage it is only found in the North Island and in Marlborough. Cutting-grown plants are very common though for other areas and usually cheaper to buy, as an easier and shorter propagation method than grafting. You can have a go at growing your own grape plants for free by using winter prunings.

All grape varieties are self-pollinating, so it's not necessary to plant more than one variety for pollination. 

Grape vines flower in late spring, so are susceptible to frosts at this time; cover the tender blooms with frost cloth if there is a chance of spring frosts. Grape plants grow as vines, so they should be planted along a wall or a trellis, or over a pergola or arch.

Grapes are attractive vines with their large, lobed leaves, which provide dappled shade in summer before turning to rich colours in autumn. 

Covering the vines with fine netting may be necessary, and helps to keep birds from getting to your grapes before you do. Alternatively, bunches of grapes can be wrapped in a muslin or paper bags. 

In warm, humid climates, fungal diseases like powdery and downy mildew can be problematic for grapes. It's a good idea to prune to an open canopy to allow air movement, that reduces the chance of diseases building up. A fungicide spray may also be needed, from bud burst through to early summer.


Grape Varieties

Click on a row, or scroll right, to view more information. To look up your climate zone click here.

Fruit Type
Months Harvest
Good Keeper
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