Grapes Training Systems and Methods

As we mentioned before, the grapevine is a climbing bush. This means that it needs a kind of supporting system in order to develop properly. Right after the installation of the vineyard, as soon as our plants have developed their first shoots, it is time to apply the shape our vines are going to have. For once again, selecting vine training pattern is a multifactorial decision. It depends on the climate conditions (winds, temperature, sun exposure), the type of soil, and the cultivated varieties. Training is achieved through support (stacking) and pruning. Through the right training, growers seek to achieve optimum plant development, conditions that prevent pests and diseases outbreaks (for example proper aeration and sunlight penetration) and facilitation of harvesting and other cultivation techniques. But even if those factors were ensured, in most cases we would still need staking, as a mature plant cannot support all the weight of mature grapes by itself. 

There are several different vine shapes preferred for different cases. One way to classify training systems is based on the trunk height. Following this classification, we end up having two major training categories: Low trained and High trained

A.) Low trained category, includes vine shapes where we keep the trunk slightly sort 20-60cm (0,66 to 2 ft.). 

B.) The high trained category includes vine shapes where we keep the trunk slightly high over 120cm or 3,9 ft. 

The most common vine training systems are the following:

Goblet shape

This type of training is probably the oldest one. It is preferred in hot and dry areas where we have non-irrigated vineyards and poor soils.   

Following this type of training, we often shape the trunk in 20-30 cm (0,66 to 1 ft.) height, keeping 3-8 cordons around the trunk so as to create a goblet. Goblet is a free shape technique, meaning it does not need any trellising.

Cordon shapes  

Cordon system is often used in warm climates, like California. 

Royal Cordon

This is a commonly used training technique by which farmers basically leave one main cordon per vine. 

Two-sided Cordon 

This training technique is similar to the royal cordon. The only difference is that there is a second cordon, bent opposite of the first one. 

Guyot shape

This system is often used in cool climates. Farmers who choose this training technique, basically follow all the steps of two-sided training, with one main difference. They prune one cordon leaving 6-10 buds, and the second one leaving only two buds. The long cordon gives the fruiting canes, while the short one, will approximately produce two new cordons. Subsequently, one of these new cordons in pruned at 6-10 buds and the other at 2 buds. This way, producers continually replace the cordons.

Pergola 

This training technique is often used to shape table grape varieties. However, it is not suggested for early harvested varieties. We find many variations of this technique globally. What is common in all cases is the tall trunk height and the horizontal layout.

Such a trunk height requires two years of effort where farmers keep pruning it. Once they have the optimum height, they install the wire plexus above the head, where they will train the vines.

Lyre or U shape

This shape is similar to the two-sided cordon, but here, the two main cordons are bent on two different trellis systems. Subsequently, each of these two cordons gives another pair of cordons which are now inclined on the two sides of the same wire just like at the two-sided cordon system. This training system offers a lot of advantages, including better aeration, better sunlight penetration, and grape shading. However, it requires more effort to install. 

You can read more on Vine Training Systems here.  

Viticulture Definition – What is Viticulture?

Fast Facts on Grapes

Grapes Health Benefits

Grape Plant Information

How to Grow Grapes for Profit- Commercial Grape Grower’s Essential Guide

Deciding on Grape Varieties

Soil Requirements and Preparation for Grapevine Farming

Grapevines Planting and Plant spacing – Number of plants per hectare

Grapes Training Systems and Methods

Vine Pruning, Defoliation and Thinning

Grapes Irrigation and Water Management

Grapes Fertilizer Management

Common Grapevine Pest and Diseases

Grape Harvesting – When and How to Harvest Vineyard

Grape Yield per Hectare and Acre

The use of Technology in Contemporary Viticulture

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Wikifarmer Editorial Team
Wikifarmer Editorial Team

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