Kesselring-Kindred ND Native Wild Grape Vineyard: Establishing Wild Grapes in a Vineyard Setting

2014 Annual Report for FNC13-913

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2013: $7,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Jason Kesselring
Kesselring Vineyards

Kesselring-Kindred ND Native Wild Grape Vineyard: Establishing Wild Grapes in a Vineyard Setting


Establishing a New Vineyard

In 2013 our task was to establish a new vineyard on my family’s property in Kindred, ND. We collected 200 + vine cuttings during the winter of 2012-13 and utilized the greenhouse at NDSU to get them to take root and prepare for planting in June. Come May we established a specific spot for the vineyard and tilled ten rows for the vine cuttings with 10-foot wooden posts as the basis for the trellis systems. We ended up planting a total of 143 cuttings in the new vineyard with the rest of the cuttings going to replace any plants lost in the old vineyard as well as a few planted down by the river.

After planting we finished the trellising systems on all ten rows.  After this a watering system was dug that put each plant on a drip system. This was utilized to help establish a strong root system for the vines.        

Throughout the summer I trained the vines to our trellising system once they grew above their grow tubes (grow tubes being 3 ft. in height). All trellising for these vines were double arm kniffin and by the end of the growing season most of the vines were at least above the grow tube and were touching the first wire of the trellis. Some vines where even touching the top wire of the trellis. By the end of the growing season we were seeing some damage to the plants from the deer so we decided to keep grow tubes on the plants throughout the winter. We did however lift each of the tubes to acclimatize the vines. To further protect vines from deer, we strung fish line around the perimeter of the vineyard. We also used other methods to keep deer away such as natural scent (strong smelling soap hanging from bags,) and a couple motion sensors that would trigger a light and radio signal. The final addition to the vineyard was a snow fence to cover the west and north sides.      

During the winter I gathered 600+ cuttings from around my family’s farm to expand the new vineyard even further. These are currently at NDSU in their greenhouse being prepared for spring 2014 planting. The beginning of March 2014 saw a warm up and with that we removed the grow tubes from our vines and in the next month I will begin pruning the vines to help train them to the trellis and remove excess growth. In May we will begin to till up the ground to expand the new vineyard to the west and possibly the east.  This new addition to the vineyard will utilize not only the double armed kniffin trellis system but also the High Cordon and Geneva Double Curtain trellising system.


Objectives/Performance Targets

This next coming growth season (Summer 2014) is where the new vineyard will begin to offer a lot of understanding about growth and training our new vines. The main questions we have now are:
A) What is the best trellis system for our particular type of grapes (Vitis Riparia ie. Wild Grapes)
B) What is the best pruning method?
C) How much should we irrigate these vines?

Last year’s plantings will begin to form to the trellis with pruning and tying to the trellis system. Grapes will not appear on the plants until the 3rd or 4th years.


So far we have established our new vineyard and planted the vines. They are currently being trained and pruned to their respective trellis systems and growing rapidly. We have established a couple different trellis systems for our vines. Most vines are at least touching the bottom wire if not the second wire of our trellising systems.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes