Scenes From The Vineyard Spring Edition: Trellising Grapevines
Education
August 4, 2016

Scenes From The Vineyard Spring Edition: Trellising Grapevines

Last month, we introduced you to the type of work and maintenance happening in the vineyard during the winter months. While winter lays the groundwork for the upcoming vintage, the story really begins to unfurl when spring arrives. As the snow melts, vintners begin to prepare for arguably the most important season of the vine-growing life cycle.During the end of February and throughout March, the focus of all vintners is on a practice known as trellis maintenance. If you”ve ever visited a vineyard, chances are you”ve seen a trellis! Quite simply, a trellis is an architectural structure used to support grapevines and trains them to grow in a way that maximizes the potential of the plant and its fruit.  Image via BK Wine Photography

A Basic Trellis is built with posts, anchors, staples and in-line wire tighteners and looks a little something like this: 

The Washington State University horticulture publication explains that trellising is important for two reasons: To support the weight of the fruits when they begin to grow and to make sure each vine receives the maximum and evenest sun exposure. The amount of sun exposure will become especially important in the later part of the growing season – coming soon in May and June.Before designing a trellis, vintners must consider all sorts of factors that may affect vine growth and management. The most important factor the vintners consider is the anticipated vine vigor or canopy size, different for different varieties of grapes.These factors are also influenced by terroir – climate and soil texture and type. Warmer temperatures and more sunlight will result in larger canopies, while cooler temperatures or harsh winds will result in less growth. Additionally, soil types with more moisture will encourage vigorous vine growth. Image via World All Details

While there is a great variety of trellis systems, there are some simple rules for what characteristics a good trellis should have. Most importantly, a good trellis should be:

l) strong and durable

2) able to support the entire weight of the vine including the trunk and foilage

3) able to provide the maximum sunlight to the leaves and buds

4) cost-efficient to construct

5) easy to repair and maintain

6) adaptable to mechanical pruning and harvesting machines

As you can see, the process of making wine is a yearlong labor of love that requires a blend of knowledge, thought, science and savoir faire. Given Bordeaux”s centuries old winemaking history, the region has always been at the forefront of winemaking at every stage. Bordeaux”s winemaking savoir faire has been emulated in new world regions across the globe, including our trellis design and maintenance techniques. 

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