Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

If I wanted to plant a vine and create my own wine from home, how many vines would I need to create two to four personal bottles?

—Sam, New Zealand

Dear Sam,

Even though this question requires a couple things I hate—conjecture and math—I’ll see if I can help you out.

As I’ve written before, it takes several clusters of grapes to make a bottle of wine, depending on how big and juicy the grapes are, but let’s say you need somewhere around six or eight clusters just to be safe, or about two and a half pounds of grapes. How many clusters a vine produces depends on a lot of variables, including what kind of grapes you’re growing, how old the vine is and what the weather is like, but you can get 20 to 40 clusters per vine, if the vine is healthy and mature.

All that said, you can probably get about three bottles of wine per grapevine, more or less. I imagine there are some challenges in making that small an amount of wine—I’d make sure you have a strategy for a fermentation container and the like lined up ahead of time, since many home winemaking kits and materials are set up for larger batches. That’s a lot of work to go through for only a few bottles of wine. Be sure to send me one!

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.