Tips for Metal Detecting Vineyards

Metal Detecting Vineyard

The classic line I get when it comes to metal detecting vineyards is when the owner or vineyard manager says, “Why bother? You won’t find anything, but go ahead,” having a confused look at why I would even want to detect it. However, in my experience, there is always something to be found in a vineyard. First off, you need to think about how many workers have graced the land, cultivating the soil, planting the vines, pruning them, fertilizing them, turning the water on and off, inspecting the vines, and picking the grapes. Trust me, some of these people are bound to lose items. 

Also, the ground of the vineyard could have been a fruit orchard or food crop field prior and have had older generations cultivating the soil, planting the fruit trees, pruning, fertilizing, moving sprinklers around, inspecting, and picking the fruit. 

I have spent 60+ days detecting one specific vineyard, and I keep on finding interesting items. It shows that vineyards have an abundance of finds waiting for detectorists to uncover.

If you don’t have 60+ days to detect a vineyard because time is limited, here are the areas I recommend you should concentrate on.

  • Where the water valves are and would have been. The vineyard workers would have bent over turning off and on the values and fixing them, losing items from their pockets or tools, pocket knives, and jewelry.
  • Anywhere there is shade where workers would have hand lunch or taken breaks during hot days.
  • At the end of each row, going into each row about 20 feet.

Best Coil Size to Use for Metal Detecting Vineyards

The cool thing about metal detecting vineyards is they are gridded out for you with rows. Due to the vineyard row sizes, ‌a small coil, also referred to as a sniper coil, does the best. You can go right below the vines without having the bottom wire where the drip lines are attached set off the metal detector. I generally bring my standard coil and smallest coil to detect vineyards.

Always detect the row of vines that is where your swinging hand is. If you are right-handed, you detect the right row. If you are left-handed, detect the left row. The reason for this is your swing will go nicely under the vines. A lot of good things can be found under the vines because workers have manually planted the vines, tied the vines as they grew, and then secured them to the Fruiting Wire, also known as Cordon Wire and Catch Wires, checked the water lines secured to drip line wire, fixed leaks and picked the grapes. I have found coins, jewelry, and tools, which would have been missed if I didn’t use a smaller coil and swung into the vines, getting under the trellis.

How to metal detect vineyard rows

Also, remember coils will detect finds deeper in moist soil. Right below the vines are where the soil will be the most moist.

I use the standard coil to swing down the center of the rows once I have done the complete vineyard with the smallest coil.

Best Time of Day and Year to Metal Detect a Vineyard

how to metal detect a vineyard

Due to the heat, the best times to detect vineyards are mornings and evenings. In my 60+ days detecting the one specific vineyard, I mostly got up at sunrise detected until the heat was unbearable and then came back to detect in the evening until it got too dark to detect.

During harvest, which generally takes only a couple of days to a week, depending on the size of the vineyard, I would completely avoid detecting it.

Ideally, the best time a year to detect a vineyard is springtime, when there isn’t much growth of grass, however, you can detect it throughout the year because most vineyard owners and managers will cut the grass, or kill the grass by chemicals, known as “brown vineyard”. The worst time of the year, if you live where it snows or gets frost, would be winter due to the frozen ground.

Best Digging Equipment for a Vineyard

For digging equipment. I would definitely bring a narrow shovel. Because the ground is cultivated, it isn’t hard to dig under the vines. To not disturb the roots, you want to make small holes to retrieve targets.

Expect to find a lot of trash, workers did what they did to hydrate themselves, and you will find pull tabs, bottle tops, and soda cans. You will also find pipes, sprinkler parts from old watering systems wires that were used to secure watering lines, and vines to the trellises.

Keeping in Good Faith with the Vineyard Owner or Manager

Take some time to learn the terminology used in vineyards. Below I have made a diagram of how to explain parts of the vineyard trellis, to get an idea of the terminology. If you see a sprinkler leak, tell the owner or manager, they will be grateful for a second set of eyes. Also, make sure you do not break any waterlines. The drip lines‌ are above the ground tied to the first wire, the drip line wire. However, there are pipes to those drip lines that you should be aware of and not hit them when digging a hole.

vineyard trellis metal detecting

Gates are important and should always be kept closed. For instance, if one deer slips into a vineyard and gets between the rows, it becomes a big headache getting it out for vineyard ground staff. Keeping a gate or fence open is a sure way for a vineyard owner or manager to not want you back.

As it is important in parks, beaches, and woods, to fill your holes and carry your trash out, the same is with a vineyard. Try to leave no trace that you were there. Doing a good job will help doors open up, and other local vineyard owners will be more likely to have you detect their vineyards. 


With beaches and parks being saturated with detectorists, consider finding alternative places to metal detect, such as a vineyard. I personally enjoy metal detecting vineyards and have been delighted at the interesting finds I have uncovered.

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