The most reliable way to grow grapevines is via rooted cuttings. Several sources offer these. Many Garden Centres sell rooted one or two year old plants from May/June onwards.Prices range from £6.99 to £12.99.
Alternatively, if you want an earlier start to your growing season you can order rooted cuttings from online nurseries in Winter/early Spring. These should put out new growth in mid-Spring. I have used a couple of sources online and I can definitely recommend Victoriana Nursery for reliable, quality plants on grafted rootstocks. I have no connection with this firm other than as a purchaser.
When you buy your grapevine I suggest you keep your receipt. I say that because I bought one from a garden centre with a label saying "Muscat of Alexandria" - this variety produces white dessert grapes. Unfortunately, it is producing BLACK grapes, so was clearly mis-labelled. I didn't keep the receipt! I had a similar experience last year with an "Apple Tree". Well,it was labelled as such, but it turned out to be a flowering CHERRY tree! That time I had kept the receipt, so got a free replacement.
Another reliable source of grapevines, both rooted cuttings and cuttings to root yourself, is Sunnybank Vine Nursery in Herefordshire run by Sarah Bell. She also maintains the National Grapevine Collection.
I suggest you do not buy unrooted grapevine cuttings via the Internet from a private seller. Only fresh cuttings will reliably root for you and you've no idea how long ago the cuttings were taken. I obtained 10 unrooted cuttings via Ebay from a private seller and not one cutting rooted for me. Fortunately I was doing a swap - not a purchase - so I only lost out on the cost of postage. I suspect they were too long off the parent vine.
If you have a friendly vineyard in your local area, they will be doing their winter pruning from late December into January and February. If you give them a polite call and arrange to visit they may be happy to let you have some winter prunings which are otherwise got rid of. If you want an early start and have a heated propagator, you will get early root growth if you give your cuttings bottom heat from January onwards.
To prepare a cutting select a section about 12 inches (30cm) long, of pencil thickness from this year's wood and with three or four buds. When cutting it to length make an angled cut on the top and make a straight cut across at the base. By doing this you can ensure the cutting goes into the soil right way up (angled cut on top).
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