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Establishing a Vineyard

Table of Contents

  1. Importance of Clean Plants and Quarantines
  2. Getting Started
  3. Vineyard Design Considerations
  4. Washington State: Geology and Climate
  5. Soils
  6. Variety and Rootstock Selection
  7. Trellis Design and Vine Training
  8. Field-Grafting Grapevines
  9. Other Resources


Importance of Clean Plants and Quarantines



Regardless of whether you are a commercial grape producer or a backyard enthusiast, Washington State has strict quarantines regarding where your grapes come from.  DO NOT bring back grape plants from your trips abroad (whether domestic or international). Doing so may result in very strict fines, but more importantly, may bring in diseases and pests that could severely hurt the commercial grape industry.  ONLY buy stock from reputable nurseries. If you purchase from sources outside of WA, you must notify the Washington State Department of Agriculture of their arrival, and schedule an inspection.  More information on “planting clean” and WA quarantines are found here:



Getting Started


Vineyard Design Considerations


Washington State: Geology and Climate

  • AgWeatherNet –  The source for Washington State weather data.
  • Geologic Map of Washington (ZIP) – A great map that describes the geological features of the state. (link will open a  .zip file from the Washington State DNR).
  • Western Regional Climate Center – Historical information regarding growing degree days, temperature, precipitation, wind speed and directions for a number of locations in the Western United States.
  • Normal Climate Maps for United States – Use this site to get frost/freeze data for the past 30 years, precipitation data, and more through the NOAA.
  • 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Maps –  Determine the 30-year average absolute minimum temperatures for a particular area.  Is your site appropriate for winter-tender vines?



Soil Types

Soil Testing and Remediation


Variety and Rootstock Selection

Variety selection is dependent on what is best suited for your site and what you can market/sell. Consult potential fruit customers and winemakers before heavily investing in large plantings.

Plant Sources:

  • Clean Plant Center Northwest Grapes – Check out the current availability of different varieties in the Washington State Grape Foundation Block.
  • National Grape Registry – A great database out of California of different grape varieties and clones available in the USA.
  • Grape Genetic Testing and Identification – A service provided by the Foundation Plant Service out of UC-Davis that can determine the variety/cultivar of an unknown grapevine. Clonal identification is currently not available.

Variety Information:

Rootstock Information:


Trellis Design and Vine Training

Field-Grafting Grapevines

Other Resources

Viticulture Courses

Take individual programs from the Viticulture Certificate Course, and custom-build your knowledge base.  Choose from courses on General Grape Production, Economics, Irrigation, Disease and Insect Management, and Soils and Nutrition.

Organic Certification

Washington Tilth Association is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to provide support for and promotion of biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture.

WSDA Organic Food Program – Provides information on the procedures of becoming certified organic, and is a certifying agency for growers.

USDA National Organic Program – The NOP develops and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards for organic agricultural products.

Washington AVAs

Planting within an existing AVA (PDF) has many marketing advantages.

Need a Consultant?

WAWGG, an industry organization in Washington, has a list of private consultants that can help you with the details of vineyard establishment. Scroll halfway through the page.