Finger Lakes Grape Program Enrollment

Program Areas

  • Pest Management
  • Vineyard Nutrition
  • Crop Management
  • Market Development
  • Farm Business

Enrollment Benefits

  • Vineyard Consultations
  • Finger Lakes Vineyard Update
  • Semi-monthly Finger Lakes Vineyard Notes
  • Educational Meetings & Conferences
  • Discounted Conference Registration Fees

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FALL   •   WINTER   •   SPRING   •   SUMMER          New Vineyard Timeline
Grape - Summer Content


2-years Pre-plant · Equipment Needs

Whether you're new to agriculture, or simply new to grape growing, there are several basic pieces of equipment for which you will need to budget ahead of time.  Of course, buying all this equipment will put you well into the red within the first couple of years of planning.  How can you keep some of these costs under control?

  • Rent equipment or hire custom work - such as laser planting or mechanical harvesting
  • Form a cooperative with local growers to share the costs of bulk fertilizers and chemicals.
  • Purchase equipment jointly with your neighbor

From spray schedules to block-by-block management, you will need a (fairly robust) computer:  Most importantly, you'll need a computer with up-to-date software to maintain records and participate in educational opportunities, such as online certification, online workshops, etc.

Stock Your Library and Bookmark Important Webpages

Peruse the resources page from this website and bookmark those that will be most useful.

  • Northeast Beginning Farmers Project - This website is a great resource for those new to agriculture in the Northeast.  Along with online and on-farm workshops, the NBFP also has resource guides to agriculture in New York State.

2010 New York and Pennsylvania Pest Management Guidelines for grapes.  You can order one from your local Cooperative Extension Office.

2010 New York and Pennsylvania Pest Management Guidelines

Wine Grape Production Guide for Eastern North America This is an essential must have for anyone growing wine grapes, regardless of experience level!

Wine Grape Production Guide for Eastern North America

Small Equipment For Small Vineyards

Planting  & Trellis Installation

Remember, the trellis should go in the same year your vines go in - you do not want your vines crawling along the ground because weed control and canopy training will be very difficult later in the season!

If it is in your budget, laser planting allows for mechanization in the vineyard, because the rows and vines will be nearly perfectly aligned, which will help reduce the number of times vines are wounded by equipment moving through the vineyard.  A tractor with a 3-point hitch in a well-marked field can work just as well.  Regardless of your chosen method of planting, you will likely need grow tubes to protect the vines from weed sprays during the first part of the season.

  • If you are planting by hand, you will likely need the majority of the following tools.
  • Basic Hand Tools - hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.
  • Shovels, post-hole diggers, pick, tampers, water trough, buckets
  • Nicopress or gripple tool, come-along, wire cutters, fence hammer,
  • Small generator, handheld auger, post pounder, OR tractor and auger


Pruning is the first means to control crop size in your vineyard.  Pruning requires little equipment, but make sure you get good, comfortable pruners.  You'll be using them a lot, so it's best they don't cause you pain.

  • Pruners, loppers, folding saws
  • Hand-held scale - to measure pruning weights
  • Thermos of coffee/tea/hot chocolate to keep you warm (Yes, pruning should be finished before mid-April, which means, in NY and PA, March and early April can often be very cold!)


Harvest is a busy time of year, so be sure you have everything cleaned up and in order before it's time to get the fruit off the vines.  Tools you'll need:

  • Fruit picking shears or knives, sharpening stones
  • Grape lug boxes or buckets
  • Grape bins

Summer Work

When you're growing grapes, you're always in the vineyard - there are two things you should always have with you: 1) pruners and 2) tying tape, even if you're just giving a quick tour to friends!

  • Hand hoes, Max Tapeners, tying tape
  • Wire clips, Ag Tyes, twine, etc.
  • Backpack herbicide sprayer


One thing you'll learn very quickly is how to dress for the weather and which websites or farm stores to purchase gear:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - for pesticide and herbicide applications
  • Winter and Rain Gear


  • First Aid - There will be times you'l be grateful you had your first aid kit with you in your truck or tractor
  • Shotgun, Rifle, Traps
  • Wire, Duct Tape
  • Keep your shop tidy, and be sure to post appropriate signage!

Large Equipment

Things you really should have:

  • Tractor(s):
    • 4WD, if needed
    • PTO power
    • Reliability
    • Service
    • Spray Safe Cab
    • Width
    • Implements
  • Spray Cab w/ filter system
  • Grape Hoe
  • Post Pounder
  • 3 Point Auger
  • Spinning Jenny
  • Mower/Brush Chopper
  • Herbicide Sprayer
  • Fungicide/Insecticide Sprayer
  • Vine Hedger
  • Reliable Farm Pickup Truck

Not Necessary, But Useful:

  • ATV or Mule or Gator
  • Cultivator/Seed Drill
  • Soil Spader
  • Flatbed Truck
  • Grape Bin Trailers
  • Bird Netting and/or Pyrotechnic Devices

Other Important Items:

  • Reliable Water Source
  • Nurse Tank
  • Electricity
  • Shop/Office

Someday, When Money Is Available:

  • Prepruner
  • Leaf Plucker
  • Mechanical Harvester
  • Multi-row sprayer (for herbicides or pesticides)
  • Mechanical Wire Lifter
  • Mechanical Shoot Positioner
  • Mechanical Shoot Thinner

Content by:

Mark Chien
State-wide Wine Grape Educator
Penn State Cooperative Extension


Dr. Jodi Creasap Gee
Viticulture Extension Educator
Lake Erie Regional Grape Program

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