posts and coats

Pruning Tutorial 1.

Training systems.


Vertical Shoot Positioning.

V.S.P. is the most commonly used training system in use in the Marlborough region. Two,three or four canes from last year's growth are selected and then trained along horizontal fruiting wires. Two 2-bud spurs are left under the head of the vine to provide replacement canes for the following year. The remaining unrequired canes are pruned from the vine.

It is important for the pruner to select good vigourous canes, with a suitable internode length, that have been exposed to the sun, as canes from the shaded parts of the canopy have weak growth and poor fruit initiation.

V.S.P. pruned vines in the Awatere Valley

alsace arched

Arched canes in Alsace, France.

Arched canes.

Are used to increase to exposure of fruit to sunlight and to mittigate apical dominance and excessive growth around the head. The placement of the highest point of the vine at the mid-point of the of the cane produces more even budburst along the cane and a balanced vine with a more open canopy than V.S.P.

It is widely used for the Premier Cru aromatic varieties in Alsace and is increasingly used by quality aromatic producers in Marlborough such as Pyramid Valley and Traminer View. Vines are commonly pruned to two canes, but three canes can be used for more vigourous sites.

Spur Pruning.

Spur pruning involves developing a pemanent cordon along the fruiting wire, then trimming the cane that grows from each node of the cordon back to 2 bud spurs. These spurs then produce the canes that provide the fruit for the following season.

Viticultural advantages with spur pruning are ease of managment and control over yield plus reduced pruning costs. However, in order to maintain an open canopy, early shoot thinning is recomended to eliminate double shoots and adventitious basal shoots.

Spur pruning is not suitable for all varieties or terriors as the fertility of the two basal buds can vary. Pinot noir responds well to spur prunning in most New Zealand regions but results with Sauvignon blanc have been variable. Care must be taken with disease control as the old wood of the cordon provides overwintering sites for many diseases and pests, including Powdery mildew, Botrytis rot, Erinose mite and Mealy bug. The term "disease motel" has been used by a prominent viticulturist.

Divided Canopies

With high vigour vines and high vigour sites it cane be necessary to divide the canopy in order to maximise fruit exposure while also maintaining yield.

The Scott- Henry training system is a variation on four cane VSP; where the shoots from the upper two canes are trained upwards and the shoots on the bottom two canes are trained downwards. This has the effect of doubling the area of the fruiting zone and consequently opening up the canopy and increasing fruit exposure to sunlight exposure to sunlight.

Sylvoz is a variation on spur pruning where some of the spurs are cut to 6 or 8 buds and then tied down to a wire below the cordon. Again the area of fruiting zone is increased.

With the Lyre training system developed by Dr Carbonneau in Bordeaux the canopy is divided horizontally.

Tview arched cane

Arched canes at Traminer View.

spur prune

Spur pruning








scott henrylyre

Scott Henry (L) and Lyre (r) showing the difference between vertically and horizontally divided canopies.