This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
All Grapes intended to hang through the winter should be ripe by the 1st of October; but it is to be feared, started at the usual period, they may be behind time this year. If so, let them be more freely fared, and keep up a circulation of dry warm air about them till they are quite ripe. If any lateral growths have been left on the Vines, they had better now be removed, leaving only one or two leaves to each. Look over all Grapes that have been ripe for some time, and remove any shrivelled or mouldy berries as soon as they present themselves. Keep everything about the vinery dry; and on days when the ventilators can be freely opened without admitting damp, put some heat into the pipes early in the day, allowing them to cool before night. All Vines from which the Grapes have recently been cut will, after so wet and sunless a summer, be the better for special treatment in the way of extra fire-heat and a circulation of dry warm air about them. If any superfluous laterals exist, remove them, so that light and air can play freely about the foliage and wood. Vines planted this year, and that have made strong wood, should also be treated in this way, so as to make sure of being well ripened.
All Vines from which Grapes are expected next April and May should be pruned immediately, and all about them and the vinery put in proper trim for a start by-and-by. Pot - Vines intended to be forced to yield ripe Grapes in April and May should, by the beginning of this month, be thoroughly ripe. But owing to the sunlessness of the season, many of these may not be so ripe as they should be, in which case they should be placed in a light position, where, by means of fire-heat, they can be subject to a circulation of dry warm air for a few weeks. It is better to do this, and start them a fortnight later than usual, than to begin with them in an imperfectly ripened condition. Where new borders for planting Vines next spring have to be made, it would be well to store the soil for them in some place where it can be kept dry, and be in good condition for putting into the borders in early spring.
Look frequently to all Grapes now hanging, and remove every berry that shows signs of decay before it spreads. There should not be a plant under the Vines that requires watering; and everything about the Vinery should be kept dry. To this end put some extra heat into the pipes on fine days when the houses can be freely ventilated. At other times range the temperature about 50°, unless when forsty, when a few degrees less will suffice. On damp foggy days, keep the ventilators shut. Remove all leaves that are ready to drop, so that they do not cause damp and impede the free circulation of air about the branches. All Vines intended to be started before the end of February should now have a covering put on whatever portion of their roots is outside, if this has not already been attended to. It is, however, undesirable to have any portion of the roots of such Vines as are started before the New Year in outside borders at all. The earliest Vinery should now have a bed of leaves and stable - litter put over the inside border, a portion to be turned daily as it heats. There is no more certain way of maturing a strong regular start at so early a season. It is not, however, now so necessary to start Vines before the 1st December as it used to be.
The fine late-keeping varieties and the Grape rooms render this early start less necessary. Prune all Vines from which the leaves have fallen and from which the fruit is all cut, and clean the Vines and Vineries, and put everything in readiness for starting them when the time comes. All Vines that have shown signs of exhaustion should have the top soil removed down to the roots, replacing that which is removed with fresh open loam, liberally mixed with bone-meal, to the depth of 6 or 8 inches, and then lay over all 4 inches of rich half-decomposed litter from a horse loose - box or cow-yard. The drainage being good, this will very much stimulate the Vines, not so much next summer, but the year after. If soil for new Vine-borders has not been collected, let it be done at once, and in as dry a state as possible, and protect it from rains till it is watered.