Ask Wine Wizard

Vineyard Planning


Lars Tandrup — Santa Rosa, California asks,

I live in wine country and want to get started on a little 50-vine hobby vineyard. I Am currently reading Jeff Cox’s From Vines to Wines and the winemakermag.com articles on vineyard planning. Are there any other good resources that I should be looking at? Should I do soil testing, etc. this fall before we plan to plant in the early spring next year?

That is so great to hear that you’ll be planting a vineyard. Welcome to the great Sonoma County viticulture adventure! My company has vineyards in Sonoma too and I’ve been making wine from Alexander Valley and the Russian River, not to mention Carneros, AVAs for 15 years now. Hard to believe how time flies (and it will for you too on your viticultural journey).Of course Winemakermag.com is a great resource and I’m especially a fan of the recurring “Backyard Vines” articles, authored by my friend Wes Hagen, who has done so many great viticulture articles over the years. There are some great books out there too, the one you chose, From Vines to Wines is considered a home growing-and-winemaking classic, and it’s now in its 5th updated edition. Don’t neglect the homegrown resources in your own backyard. Because you live in one of the most famous and prestigious grape growing AVAs in the world, definitely look into the local education scene. Get to know your Sonoma County UC Cooperative Extension office and the seminars and resources they offer to the
Response by Alison Crowe.