Vineyard Site Selection

 

Table of Contents

  1. Vineyard Site Selection (for potential winery)
  2. Selected Weather Data - NAWN
  3. Other Considerations for a Vineyard and Winery
  4. Site Selection for Grapes in the Niagara Peninsula
  5. Things You Can Do To Improve Your Site
  6. Best Mangement Practices
  7. OMAFRA Establishment and Production Costs for Grapes in Ontario - 2009 Economic Report
  8. Related Links

Vineyard Site Selection (for potential winery)

Step 1 - Ask yourself:

What type of wine do you want to sell ?

  • VQA - Vinifera - Merlot, Cabernets, Chardonnay, or
  • Larger Selection - VQA Vinifera, Hybrids, Ice Wine

 

Step 2 - Ask yourself:

How are you going to sell your wine?

  • Your own wine boutique, then consider
    • Location
    • High traffic
    • Grouping with other wineries
  • Direct to restaurants
  • LCBO

Consider:

  1. Climate
    • Temperature - extremes, critical timing, swings
    • Heat unit
    • Rainfal
  2. Topography - all affect micro climate
    • Bodies of open water
    • Slope for air drainage
    • South facing slopes, bad-winter and spring, good summer and fall
    • Windbreaks, air traps
  3. Water
    • Drainage
    • Irrigation
  4. Soil
    • Land leveling
    • Sandy loam - too much vigour
    • Clay Loam - not enough vigour
    • Grapes will grow on almost any soil type
    • Soil maps available from OMAF

 

Selected Weather Data - Niagara Area Weather Network (NAWN)

  • Sample minimum temperatures on a given day in Niagara Peninsula
  • Base your site decision on some historical weather data

Minimum Temperature °C - January 9, 2001

NOTL - Parkway
- 13.5
Jordan - Escarpment
- 19.9
NOTL - Queenston
- 13.4
HRIO - Cherry
- 18.8
NOTL - Virgil
- 14.7
Vineland Escarpment
- 19.2
NOTL - Lakeshore
- 13.4
Beamsville Bench
- 17.3
W. St.Catharines - Pelham
- 17.7
Grimsby
- 21.3
Jordan - HWY #8
- 17.1
Winona
- 19.9

 

  • Sample of moderated temperatures near Lake Ontario versus large temperature swings 15 km from Lake Ontario
Temperature Swings °C - March 7, 2001
Time (a.m.) NOL - Lakeshore
Temperature
Queenston
Temperature

600

- 0.9

- 9.2

615

- 1.1

- 10.2

630

- 1.0

- 9.7

645

- 1.1

- 9.4

700

- 0.9

- 9.9

715

- 0.4

- 9.6

730

- 0.1

- 8.7

745

0.2

- 7.4

800

0.7

- 5.3

815

0.9

- 2.8

830

1.2

- 1.4

 

Other Considerations for a Vineyard and Winery

Other Considerations for the Winery

  • Services - Water, Hydro, Roads, etc.
  • Land Prices
    • $$$$ - Bench, Lakeshore
    • $$ - Flat Zone B
    • $ - On top of escarpment

 

Site Selection for Grapes in the Niagara Peninsula - Niagara Grape Climatic Zones

By Dr. Helen Fisher, University of Guelph, and Ken Slingerland, OMAFRA

This map explains:

  • Detailed climatic explanation of each zone
  • General Cultivar Recommendations
  • Guide only

To order contact the OMAFRA Vineland Resource Centre by email or phone (905) 562-4147.

 

Things You Can Do To Improve Your Site = $$$$

  • Improve Drainage
  • Add Irrigation
  • Wind Machines
  • Smudge Pots
  • Change Cultivars - Merlot to Baco Noir
  • Use Best Management Practices

Or

  • Select a new site!

 

Best Management Practices

  • Reconsider trellis system to control vigour
  • Add organic matter
  • Petiole analysis to maintain correct nutrient levels
  • Avoid chicken manure which is usually too high in nitrogen for vinifera grapes
  • Consider permanent cover crop
  • Thin heavy crops
  • Canopy management (leaf pulling or hedging)
  • Improve spray coverage and IPM
  • Use a qualified vineyard consultant if you are unable to monitor the vineyard yourself
  • Reduce stress for you and your vineyard!

Remember: Reducing stress is different than controlling vigour!

OMAFRA Establishment and Production Costs for Grapes in Ontario - 2009 Economic Report

To order a paper copy contact the OMAFRA Vineland Resource Centre by email or phone (905) 562-4147. Also available on the Grape Growers of Ontario website.

 

Site determines what you can grow.

Market determines what you can sell!

There is always risk involved, try to reduce it with the proper Vineyard Site Selection!

"You can grow grapes anywhere in the province of Ontario,

at least for one season!" - Ken Slingerland, OMAFRA

 

 


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Ken Slingerland - Tender Fruit and Grape Specialist/OMAFRA
Creation Date: November 2002
Last Reviewed: 13 February 2007