Planning the Hoberg’s Club vineyard is a lot like deciding to have a baby. It’s easy to see a cute kid and feel that covetous pang. You think, “Hey, I could do that.” But when confronted with all the responsibilities and tasks associated with parenthood — or vineyard ownership — you might feel suddenly overwhelmed.
So what does it take to be a successful Hobergs vineyard “parent”? According to Hoberg’s Club Dan Nelson you have to be dedicated. You have to learn some new things and ask advice from people who have done it before. You have to have some extra money. You have to know where to shop. You have to be willing to give up some of your leisure time. Even a small vineyard will require weekly maintenance during the growing season and pruning in the winter. The fruit you grow will reflect your effort, and your success or failure as a viticulturist will dictate the quality of your homegrown wine. The decision to start a Hoberg’s vineyard is a serious one, requiring study, planning, financial resources, dedication and a willingness to get muddy and sulfur-soaked.
In planning our Hoberg’s vineyard, there are lots of considerations. We will need to select our site and exposure, prepare the soil, decide if you plan to irrigate, plan a trellising system and then choose a row and vine spacing scheme that works for you. The purpose of this article is to introduce these issues, teach you some basic vocabulary and concepts, and then turn you loose to do your own research.
It’s vital you network with other grape growers, preferably in the Lake County area, to benefit from their mistakes and successes. Local wine growers can point you toward vineyard hardware suppliers and good nursery materials, can help you choose your vineyard plot, your grape varieties and root stock, and might even help with the labor if you bring them enough wine. Start a grape-growing club or join an existing one. Help each other farm, harvest and crush. Asking for help is absolutely vital to the success of your future vineyard. Most viticulturists have been very forthcoming about their first planting experiences — they admit that they would have planned and planted differently if they would have taken more time to read, network and plan. Once the vines are in the ground, there’s little you can do to change the basic layout of the field.
With that understood, let’s start planning our Hoberg’s vineyard:
- One: Select your site
- Two: Prep the soil
- Three: Consider Your Trellising and Vine Spacing
- Four: Assess Equipment
- Five: Plant Your Vines!
- Six: Enjoy the Hoberg’s Vineyard