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General Information on Grapevines

Grapevines are actually part of the "espalier fruit" family and traditionally play a major role in the greening of facades. Due to the abundance of information, grapevines are treated separately at FassadeGrün: here you will find extensive information on grapevines-- for the house and in the garden. You can select climbing (trellis) systems, compare table grapes, learn how to prune and how to recognize diseases. FassadenGrün sells several grapevine varieties.

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(also called "grape wine," Latin: Vitis vinifera)

Grapevines on a wall
Grapevines on a wall

Requirements / Price

Position in full sun, preferably protected from strong winds. Distance between vine stocks: 0.8 - 5 metres.

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Characteristics and Pruning

The grapevine is a stem- tendril climbing plant that grows upwards with vigorous overhanging (cascading) growth-- new shoots may grow 1 - 4 metres every year. It is usually cultivated as a shaped shrub with a growth height of 10 metres or more, depending on the pruning technique. Leaves are beautiful and heart/lobe-shaped. Foliage lasts from April/May to October. The flower, with its panicle, is relatively discreet. Fruit (grapes) are green, yellow, red, or blue to blue-black with different berry and cluster sizes, depending on the variety. The stock is built up over several years (grapevine training). Pruning in winter is essential, and additional summer pruning may be necessary. While grapevine is quite susceptible to fungal diseases, newer varieties are more resistant than historical ones. For purely ornamental purposes, there are grape-free grapevines.

Climbing Supports for the Facade

The grapevine can be trellised on a stake, rod, stainless steel cable system, or on a wooden trellis. For suitable wire rope system designs, see below. We recommend a medium version, but for larger/higher areas and fungus-sensitive, historical varieties-- choose a trellis in the heavy  / massive design (they have increased wall distance). In exceptional cases, lighter systems -- the easy kits-- basic and basic-s -- or even light kits may be sufficient. Important for wall espaliers: the main shoots of the vines (i.e. the branches), which become thicker, should be tied to the front of the trellis; fruit-bearing annual shoots, which will be cut off later in winter, can be tucked behind the trellis.

Suitable Wire Rope Systems?

Please click on the graphic to see the full suitability chart

Vine espalier in Freyburg/Saxony; the grapevine can be shaped in such a way as to cover only the desired areas with greenery.
Facade greening with vertical grapevine cordons
Not only children are attracted to grapes on a façade!
Bauhaus style building with grapevine on a cable system 5050

Buildings greened with grapevines

View this gallery to see more greened walls and buildings; many more pictures can be found in the section on grapevine training.

An old baroque grapevine house in the Saxon Elbe Valley
Farm with wooden grapevine trellis
Two grapevine stocks on a house in the style of "resort/spa" architecture
Grapevines trained on a house with very high trunks-- to prevent unwanted 'nibblers'! (pedestrians who might eat the grapes)
Without a summer pruning: long overhanging shoots form, bringing their own charm
Old wine-grower's house in the Spaar Mountains, Meißen / Saxony

Botanical Features - grapevines during the course of the year

Here you can see grapevine leaves, flowers, fruit... autumn colouring, appearance in winter, and budding in spring. Please also refer to "grape varieties" for more information.

Grapevines need a very rigorous winter pruning every year!
Only a few buds remain, which sprout in spring.
Grapevine budding: two buds have grown into new shoots.
This rigorously trimmed vine stock grows on a "T-shaped" wire rope system ("single wire training"); the many new spring shoots begin to grow.
Long shoots emerge from the lignified canes and grow (hang) into the open space in front of the trellis if they do not cling/'crochet' themselves to the climbing aid or other shoots.
Grapevine trained as horizontal cordons with 'multi-wire training' (wire rope frame); the lower wire rope serves to hold the stem framework in place, while the upper wire ropes support the new shoots.
The tendrils of the plant can be seen on this young shoot (growing to become a new branch).
If all goes well, flower buds/clusters will also form on the new shoots.
The flowering itself is rather unspectatcular...
During flowering, many parts start dropping off (including many tiny grapes which have just appeared); this is completely normal.
The few small berries that remain on the panicle then begin to grow rapidly.
Soon the young, green berries reach the "pea-size" stage.
The berries (grapes) start to ripen in summer, and just then begin to reveal their final colour.
The foliage of grape varieties with green-yellow grapes will also turn yellow in autumn.
Many types of blue grapes - here "Dornfelder" - have orange to red foliage in autumn; wire rope trellis system.
A well trained and maintained grapevine looks neat also in winter, even before the thin shoots from the previous year are cut off.

Wire rope systems for grapevines

Please click on the diagrams for details!

 = suitable             = of limited suitability             = unsuitable