Modern Viticulture



The materials gathered in this section were written as a collaboration between Charles Kamins, a Napa Valley wine maker and publisher and Dr. Richard Nagaoka (The Grape Doctor), a St. Helena based viticulturalist well known in all the wine growing regions of Northern California.

Some of these articles were first published in the Wine Country Weekly Real Estate Reader [1] a weekly periodical distributed in the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area. The original purpose of these articles was to provide information helpful for readers interested in developing vineyard land. Topics cover evaluation of existing vineyards as well as evaluation of undeveloped land for vineyard potential.

There is a great deal of literature available on the subject of viticulture (see #External Links below). What is unique about the articles presented here is they represent an introduction for laymen in simple language that's easy to understand and helpful for non-scientists with an aim to invest in the vineyard business or develop vineyard land as a hobby. The reader will also find the practices outlined here, in some cases, are specific to the wine growing regions north of the San Francisco Bay and reflect a uniquely "home-grown" philosophy of vineyard development.

The area north of the San Francisco Bay has been known for over a century as an ideal environment for cultivation of high-quality wine grapes. Whereas farmers have grown grapes in the area for over a century, it is only recently, since the 1960s, that a viable economic model has allowed the advanced development of a wine industry based in the New World.


Vineyard Development

Introduction to Wine Growing

Vineyard Development Costs

Evaluating an Existing Vineyard for Purchase or Redevelopment

Evaluating Undeveloped Land for Vineyard Potential

Hillside Vineyards - Why they're desirable for premium grapes

Viticultural Profiles

Merlot The most forgiving of the red grapes

Pinot Noir Challenges California Wine Makers

California Chardonnay How to grow the most popular varietal

Zinfandel California's Native Grape

Cabernet Sauvignon the King of Wine Grapes

The Density Debate

High density planting - Is it really worth the incredible expense?

Lost in Space - High density vineyard spacing revisited

Arriving at Optimum Vineyard Density

Miscelaneous Topics

How I once planted a vineyard in nothing but rock

Grape Brokers play an important role

Sparkling wine production from Champagne to the North Coast

External Links