© By Deborah S. Tukua
It varies depending on where you live in the U.S., but late winter is typically the best time to prune grapevines. If you don’t have grapes growing but would love to plant a few, there is a way to learn how to prune grapevines from a professional and get free clippings in the process. If you live within driving distance of a local vineyard, give them a call. Some vineyards announce their pruning dates in advance to solicit volunteer help. Call the nearest vineyard and ask to be put on the vineyard’s mailing list. Key Springs Winery here in Tennessee will be pruning their vineyard now through the weekend and welcome volunteer help. If you don’t know of a vineyard in your area call your local county extension office or state office of agriculture for a listing.
If the vineyard allows you to take cuttings home bring storage bags along. Dampen the cuttings you wish to keep and place in a plastic Ziploc bag. If you obtain cuttings from more than one variety of grapes be sure to separate and mark the variety name on the bag. Store the sealed bags in the refrigerator. The cuttings can be kept in the refrigerator until all danger of frost is past. Then the cuttings can be planted safely outdoors.
While you may not want to get into the business of making wine, it is easy to can your own grape juice. If you’ve never tried grape pie, which I call Mock Cherry pie because of its taste, you’re really missing a delicious, homemade treat.
To learn how easy it is to make your own grape juice from fresh grapes, directions are in Deborah’s book, Pearls of Kitchen Wisdom. To acquire her recipes for making Glazed Grape pie and Mock Cherry pie, both made from fresh grapes, you’ll find them in Pearl’s of Garden Wisdom. Both books by Deborah Tukua are on sale now at the FATV shop.