December 2008 // Volume 46 // Number 6 // Tools of the Trade // 6TOT7

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Midwest Grape Production Guide

The Midwest Grape Production Guide (OSU Extension Bulletin 919) is a joint publication with The Ohio State University and Purdue University and a comprehensive guide on commercial grape production. There are 155 text pages in the bulletin, with 121 color pictures, 22 diagrams, and 18 tables. Sales of this publication have reached a total of more than 2,300 copies in 32 states, with the highest number of copies being sold in Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, New York, and South Dakota. This bulletin would make an excellent resource guide for Midwest grape growers and Extension educators.

Maurus Brown
Small Fruit Crops Specialist
Ohio State University South Centers
Piketon, Ohio


Wine, juice, and table grapes are widely grown in the Midwest. There are more than 500 commercial wineries throughout the Midwest. Additionally, locally grown winegrapes are in high demand. The trend for consumers to buy locally grown food is also influencing the table grape market. Fruit growers have shown interest in diversifying their field operations to include table grapes for the fresh market. The Midwest Grape Production Guide was published to address questions on commercial grape production. Extension educators use this bulletin to address grower questions and develop educational programs.

Comparison to Other Grape Production Guides

The bulletin replaced OSU Extension Bulletin 815, Grapes - Production, Management and Marketing, and provides more color pictures and text explaining how to establish and maintain a vineyard. There is an updated listing of wine grape varieties presently grown in the Midwest. Michigan State University Extension offers a very good series of Extension publications on grape production (Howell, Miller, & Zabadal, 1998; Zabadal, 1997; Zabadal, 2002; Zabadal & Anderson, 1997); however, growers must buy separate publications to obtain all of the information that is found in the Midwest Grape Production Guide.

Oregon State University has published an excellent grape production resource that is intended for growers in Northwest region of the United States, but with limited application to Midwest grape production (Hellman, 2003). Grape guides from Cornell University offer good information for selecting wine and table grape varieties for commercial vineyards (Reich, Peterson, & Martens, 2002; Reisch, Pool, Peterson, Martens, & Henick-Kling, 2002). Some grape varieties mentioned in the Cornell guides are also grown in the Midwest, but the Midwest Grape Production Guide offers a more complete listing of varieties specific for most Midwest growing conditions.

Midwest Grape Production Guide Contents

The Midwest Grape Production Guide is a comprehensive production guide directed at Midwest commercial growers. Information on key components of grape production can be found in this single publication. Extension educators can read about the various stages of grape production for wine, juice, and table grape production. This guide provides practical and useful comments from experienced Extension and research specialists in the area of grape production. Detailed information on starting and maintaining a vineyard is outlined in these sections:

  • Introduction and History

  • The Grapevine

  • Site Selection

  • Cultivar Selection

  • Grapevine Propagation

  • Vineyard Establishment

  • Pruning and Training

  • Crop Control and Canopy Management

  • Integrated Management of Grape Diseases

  • Grape Insect Pests

  • Wildlife Management

  • Weeds and Weed Control

  • Soil Management

  • Fertilization

  • Harvesting and Marketing

There are 155 pages of text, with 121 color pictures, 22 diagrams, and 18 tables in the guide. A unique pullout diagram outlines training and pruning systems for American, French-American hybrids, and Vinifera varieties. The reader can observe what the vines will appear like before and after pruning is complete. The training systems depicted in the diagrams include a) high bilateral cordon, b) Geneva double curtain, c) vertical shoot position (VSP), d) Smart-Dyson, and e) Scott Henry.

The guide demonstrates production practices that are best suited for Midwest commercial grape growers. Growers often comment on how they use the guide to select vines, build trellis, or identify insects or diseases in their vineyards. The sections on Integrated Management of Grape Diseases and Grape Insect Pests can enable Extension Educators to train growers to properly identify grape diseases and insects found in their vineyards. There are more than 12 color pictures for grape diseases and more than 10 color pictures of insects that attack grapes in the Midwest.

Grape Grower Resource

The Midwest Grape Production Guide would be an excellent resource guide for grape growers wanting to establish a new vineyard and for Extension educators who teach workshops on commercial grape production. The production information in the bulletin can assistant new growers on specific details of site selection, soil preparation, variety selection, and planting and maintenance of highly productive commercial wine, juice, or table grape vineyards.

Midwest grape producers find this grower-friendly resource to be quite useful for growing grapes. New growers can use the guide as tutorial or a handy reference for different grape production practices. Growers from other areas of the United States will find good information on general grape production, but they should adjust recommendations for varieties, fertilizer applications, and labeled pesticides for their own growing area.

The guide can be obtained as a hard copy from Ohio State University Extension county offices or downloaded as an electronic copy <>. OSU Extension Bulletin 919 can also be purchased for $10.50 + tax from Ohio State University Extension Publications Distribution, 385 Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1044, (614) 292-1607.


Hellman, E. W. (2003). Oregon viticulture. Oregon State University Press. Corvallis, OR.

Howell, G.S., Miller, D.P., & Zabadal, T.J. (1998). Wine grape varieties for Michigan. Michigan St. Univ. Ext. Bull. E-2643; Michigan State University Extension. East Lansing, MI.

Reisch, B. I., Peterson, D. V., & Martens, M. H. (2002). Table grape varieties for cool climates. Bulletin 234. Cornell University Cooperative Extension. Ithaca, NY.

Reisch, B. I., Pool, R. M., Peterson, D. V., Martens, M. H., & Henick-Kling, T. (2002). Wine and juice grape varieties for cool climates. Bulletin 233. Cornell University Cooperative Extension. Ithaca, NY.

Zabadal, T. J., & Anderson, J. A. (1997). Vineyard establishment I-Preplant decisions. Michigan St. Univ. Ext. Bull. E-2644. Michigan State University Extension. East Lansing, MI.

Zabadal, T. J. (1997). Vineyard establishment II-Planting and early care of vineyards. Michigan St. Univ. Ext. Bull. E-2645. Michigan State University Extension. East Lansing, MI.

Zabadal, T. J. (2002). Growing table grapes in a temperate climate. Michigan St. Univ. Bull. E-2774, Michigan State University Extension. East Lansing, MI.