Vine Training Methods

Dec 15, 2023by Andrew Lowry

When it comes to growing wine grapes, the method of training the vines plays a crucial role in determining the quality and yield of the grapes. Different regions around the world have developed their own unique training methods based on factors such as climate, soil conditions, and grape variety. In this article, we will explore the 10 most popular wine grape vine training methods from around the world and the reasons behind their popularity.

1. Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP)

VSP is a widely used training method that involves training the grapevines to grow vertically, with the shoots positioned in a narrow curtain. This method allows for better sunlight exposure, air circulation, and ease of vineyard management.

2. Scott Henry

The Scott Henry training system, developed in Oregon, USA, is known for its double canopy arrangement. It involves training one set of shoots in a vertical position and another set in a horizontal position. This method maximizes sunlight exposure and promotes even ripening of the grapes.

3. Geneva Double Curtain (GDC)

GDC is a popular training method in cool climate regions. It involves training the grapevines to grow in a divided canopy, with shoots positioned on both sides of a catch wire. This method provides good sunlight exposure and allows for better disease control.

4. Guyot

The Guyot system, commonly used in France and Italy, involves training the grapevines to have a single trunk and one or two fruiting canes. This method allows for good airflow and easy access for pruning and harvesting.

5. Cordon de Royat

Cordon de Royat is a training method that originated in the Bordeaux region of France. It involves training the grapevines to have two horizontal arms, with spurs or canes growing from each arm. This method allows for high grape yields and easy vineyard management.

6. Smart-Dyson

The Smart-Dyson training system, developed in New Zealand, is designed to maximize sunlight exposure and promote even ripening. It involves training the grapevines to have a vertical trunk with a fan-shaped canopy.

7. Espalier

Originating from Europe, the espalier training method involves training the grapevines to grow along a flat surface, such as a wall or trellis. This method is often used in small gardens or urban settings where space is limited.

8. Pergola

The pergola training system is commonly seen in Mediterranean regions. It involves training the grapevines to grow on an overhead trellis, creating a shaded area underneath. This method provides protection from the sun and allows for good airflow.

9. Head-trained

Head-trained vines are typically found in old vine vineyards. This method involves allowing the grapevines to grow without any support or trellis system. The vines are pruned to have a short trunk with multiple arms. This method gives the vineyard a rustic and traditional look.

10. Lyre

The Lyre training system, developed in Australia, involves training the grapevines to have two sets of horizontal canopies, resembling the shape of a lyre. This method allows for good sunlight exposure, easy vineyard management, and high grape yields.

Each of these training methods has its own advantages and is suited to different grape varieties and growing conditions. By understanding these popular training methods, wine grape growers can make informed decisions to optimize their vineyard management and ultimately produce high-quality grapes for winemaking.