Reducing cold-climate grape establishment costs through the development of a grape propagation system

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2013: $7,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Matthew Skaletski
Holy Grail Vineyard

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Education and Training: youth education
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, value added

    Proposal summary:

    Demand for cold-climate grapes for wine production are higher than supply in Wisconsin and throughout most of the cold-climate regions in the United States. The demand for locally produced wine grapes continues to rise as winery numbers increase in size and numbers.  In Wisconsin, the number of wineries has doubled in the past 5 years, with 100 wineries being in operation by the end of 2012.  Feeding the demand for wines produced from locally produced grapes is the buy local movement and culinary tourism.  Consumers demand for wines made from local or American Viticultural Areas has pressured grape growers to increase supply.  A limiting factor in grape acreage expansion is the cost of establishment which can cost as much as $10,000 per acre. One of the major costs of grape establishment is for rooted vines.

    Rooted grape vines can cost upwards of $3,500 per acre depending on the variety. Grape growers looking to expand acreage could reduce establishment costs by rooting their own vines. Although some grape growers are rooting their own vines, there is not an established methodology or system that provides a high success rate.  Some grapes fail to establish when transplanted to field due to root damage after removal from the propagation media.

    We propose evaluating a grape propagation system that includes comparing hormone treatments and a biodegradable pot product that allows the rooted cutting within the pot to be directly transplanted to the field. This system will be compared to standard non-biodegradable pot that requires pot removal before transplanting into the field.  The biodegradable pot product with rooted cuttings will be planted to a field setting along with rooted plants using a standard rooting system to verify if establishment is quickened using the biodegradable pot product. Our hypothesis is that the standard system will establish better than the biodegradable pot product rooted vines. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    April 2013

    •   Harvest cutting wood from Marquette vines
    •   Evaluate rooting hormones by root scoring system
    •   Stick cuttings in biodegradable pots and standard plant bands (open bottomed paper sleeves)

    June 2013

    •   Plant rooted cuttings to the field.  Experimental design will be a randomized complete block with 4 replications.  Plants will be managed throughout the growing season using standard grape growing methodology.

    September 2013

    •   Quantify vine shoot and root development in the field trial using both non-destructive and destructive methods

    April 2014

    •   Grape propagation workshop for grape growers and development of visual media demonstrating propagation
    •   Harvest cutting wood from Marquette vines and evaluate rooting hormones by root scoring system (This will only be completed if needed based on results from 2013)

    September 2014

    •   Quantify vine shoot and root development in the field trial using both non-destructive and destructive methods

    January 2015

    Grape propagation workshop conducted at the Wisconsin Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Conference

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.