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Greenhouse Grapevines

In Germany, grapevines were grown under glass for a long time before being replaced by cheap imported grapes. The much dreaded powdery mildew, a disease which started in an English glasshouse around 1850, also contributed to the end of this grape culture. But with new, fungus-resistant grapevine varieties comes a revival of this tradition, and every enthusiast can again produce delicious table grapes under glass, on carports, porches, or in plastic greenhouse tents.

Vines in a greenhouse, Thomery / Paris / France ca. 1890

Particularly suitable varieties for greenhouse cultivation are "Blue Muscat" and "Birstaler Muscat," as they grow without moisture, without contact with rain or dew and without sulfur spraying. Their cultivation can be shared with other, low-light loving plants.


The vine is usually trained into a diagonal cordon, a form derived from the vertical cordon. The branches are cut short; that is, spur pruned.

Grapevines under glass
Vine in greenhouses, schematic sketch
Grapevines in the glasshouse, nursery Sierhagen / Schleswig-Holstein
Grapevines in the glasshouse
Grapevines under a carport
Grapevines under a carport
Often the vines were planted just outside the glasshouse, then trained to the inside
Historic depiction of grapevines in greenhouse
Restoration of very old greenhouse grapevines on tension cables -- see photo above
Greenhouse grapevines, castle garden, Diesbar-Seusslitz / Saxony
Ripening grapes in the glasshouse, "diagonal cordon," spur pruned.
Table grapes in greenhouse, castle garden, Disbar-Seusslitz / Saxony
Grapevines under an arbour
Grapevine greened arbour
Vine cordons in a glass greenhouse: the stems were overwintered here and lime-washed to reflect the sunlight and to prevent premature bud burst.
Glasshouse with grapevine, historic depiction