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Backyard Vineyard

Not many things can be as rewarding, or challenging, as growing your own backyard grapes.  Below are links to information sources specific for the hobby viticulturist.

Importance of Clean Plants and Quarantines

IMPORTANT NOTICE: 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. All plant materials originating outside of WA (whether certified or not) need to be inspected by the WSDA upon arrival; notify the nursery that they need to include an origination certificate (more information below) with the shipment. Just because an out-of-state nursery will ship to you, does not mean it is legal to do so. More information on “planting clean” and WA quarantines are found here:


General Grape Information

For general information regarding grape production, including common terms and techniques, please refer to the eViticulture website. This website is populated with articles written by viticulture Extension specialists from across North America

Production Guides

Many different states in up-and-coming production areas have excellent resources on starting a small vineyard. The principles behind trellising and training a vine similar, and should help you in your backyard endeavors.

Nutrient and Fertilizer Management

  • ORGANIC Soil Fertility in Organic Systems (.pdf) – #PNW644
  • Nutrition for Vineyards – A WSU Viticulture Website
  • NOTE: Most guidelines are geared for production systems.  For the backyard grapevine, you likely will not need as fine-tuned a nutrient program. In many cases, following the fertilizer instructions on common complete-nutrient garden fruit-and-vegetable fertilizers will be just fine.
  • DO NOT USE WEED-AND-FEED type fertilizers on or near grapevines. They contain broad-leaf herbicides that vines are very sensitive to.

Variety Selection for Your Backyard Vineyard


Other than factors related to cold hardiness (ability to survive the winter), and in-season temperatures (having enough heat to ripen fruit), backyard growers have much more flexibility in variety choice than commercial growers.  In Washington, most of the varieties selection limitations will be related to surviving the winters; fortunately, most southern and western locations in the state are good for most grape (table, juice, wine) varieties.

Where to Buy Vines

A list of Washington and Oregon nurseries that carry certified grapevines can be found on the Clean Plant Center Northwest’s Website

Propagating grapevines can be an easy way to get new vines, but it could also mean that you are propagating diseases present in the parent vine.  Prior to propagating your own material, please test the vines for known viruses or other diseases. Testing and Diagnostic services are listed at:

Grapevine Propagation Information:

Trellising Your Backyard Vineyard

Pruning Your Backyard Vineyard

Pest Management in Your Backyard Vineyard

Pest management is one of the more challenging aspects for backyard gardeners.  Use the following resources to help guide you in your understanding of grape pest management.

Getting Your License

Understanding Pesticide Labels

Calibrating Your Backpack Sprayer

General Pest Management

Water and Irrigation Management

WSU Master Gardener Program

Learn about gardening through your local Master Gardener program.

eXtension – Grapes

National Extension effort developing online resources for grape production. Visit their website at:

WSU Viticulture & Enology Certificate Program

Expand your knowledge by taking one class or an entire program online through WSU.