This system is good for extremely vigorous vines since it allows the plant to achieve its potential yield in a relatively small space. After topping to establish a head, allow lateral shoots near the top of the trunk to grow to initiate arms. As with many other systems, there are several decisions that must be made early during establishment that depend on site and vineyard design conditions. Goblet formed head trained vines: Primitivo during the winter (A) and Mourvedre during the ripening period (B). Growers “train” vines by controlling which way they grow, leading to healthier plants that produce better grapes. Keller, M.  Deficit irrigation and vine mineral nutrition. Grape vines grow very vigorously, and most gardeners don't prune them hard enough simply because 90 percent of the growth needs to be removed each year to keep the vine manageable. Fig. It is important to distinguish between the goblet form of head training and vertical cordons, which some in our industry mistakenly call head training (Fig. Apical dominance on vertical cordons also creates a fruit yield and ripening gradient. During the summer growing season, pruning can involve removing young plant shoots or excess bunches of grapes with green harvesting. While trunk topping can take place at any time, arm training is usually limited to dormant canes during winter pruning. Head-trained, spur-pruned is one of the oldest training systems in use. It is important that the vine, which is a runner-plant, has a straight trunk. Goblet vines consist of a trunk topped with a broader “head” at the top of the permanent part of the vine. The arms support spurs on their ends that are positioned at similar heights above the soil surface. Of these names, gobelet training is the most appropriate because proper head training results in a goblet form (Fig. In these regions, these varieties, when head trained, commonly develop leaf and fruit exposure characteristics that lend themselves to fine wine production, often with limited management intervention. Greater consistency in vine form, enhanced canopy stability, and increased ease of vineyard operations offset the cost of stakes. Ideally, when a head-trained, spur-pruned system is fully developed, all of the spur positions will be at the same height near the level of the top of the stake and will be uniformly arranged in a radial alignment, like spokes on a wheel (see photo). Second, the transition from spurs on the vertical axis to the horizontal arrangement must not be done too quickly. Research has shown by increasing head height yield is increased within this system, as shoots are able to grow longer and provide more leaf area. It also forces the vines to grow in a shape that is conducive to harvesting, Pruning also keeps vines within a manageable size to support. Grapevine training thus determines the vine shape. During training, it is important to determine the level of crop production or yield, year by year. During the first year, retain long spurs that radiate outwards at the head (≈ top 10 to 15 inches) of the trunk and that are spaced as evenly as possible around the trunk like spokes of a wheel. To receive Lodi Grower news and event promotions by mail, send your contact information to or call 209.367.4727. At this point, you must determine how many of these buds to retain. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Training and yearly pruning your grapevines is crucial, otherwise you will end up with an overgrown entangled mess and a reduced harvest. 1992. As the trunk gains significant diameter, it gains more support and loose ties are sufficient to keep the trunk straight. It is generally not used in cooler climates because it can expose grapes to frost-bite. Vertical cordon trained grapevine. The smaller crop results in smaller berries with thicker skins, and much more concentrated colour and flavours. University of California Press, Berkeley. Vineyard Training The highly effective vineyard training techniques are also applicable for small rows of vines in the garden, for fences, and for freestanding espaliers. Spain - the country with the largest area of planted grape vines in the world - it is common place to see low bush vines on slopes and plains across the arid wine regions. Training the Vine Smart,  RE. Consequently, shoots at higher positions on vertical cordons grow and develop more rapidly than those at lower positions. In Coastal California, the Sierra Foothills, and Lodi, the head training tradition includes the long-established varieties Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Grenache, Mourvedre, Barbera, Cinsaut, and Alicante Bouschet. Fig. Wintitles, Adelaide. These shoots will form the initial spur positions of the head-trained vine and will be pruned to two buds the following winter. This video describes the advantages and disadvantages of the 4-Arm Kniffin Training System for Grapevines. Vine with vineyard training on a wooden trellis, after the growth of shoots in spring; bilateral, slightly-arched canes; Detail of upper left photo (espalier ribbon), grape harvest with high yield; Grapevine on 3 horizontal wires as per cable system 1020. Periodically, to maintain the goblet size and shape, a spur arising from old wood on the arm below the current spur position is retained at pruning and the portion of the arm beyond is removed. Because grapevines are woody perennial plants, apical dominance effects accumulate and the differences between higher and lower positions on vertical cordons become greater over time. Vertical cordons are simply trunks trained vertically onto a tall stake with arms and spurs located at intervals along their length. While vertical cordon training is more expeditious and less labor intensive than gobelet training, it has a major inherent disadvantage. Oregon State University 344,982 views. Wine produced from these grapes is, needless to say, no better than ordinary table wine at best. 2). How soon in the vine’s life a vineyard can carry a full crop (full yield) depends on growth induced by site, rootstock and cultural practices. At close row spacing, the vineyard may become impassable at some point in the growing season. (Progressive Viticulture©). These sturdy stakes will provide ample support for the vine during trai… 2015-41595-24254 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Vertical cordons are simply trunks trained vertically onto a tall stake with arms and spurs located at intervals along their length. Grapevines di… The decision one must make in using this training system is to consider  the time of year when this growth occurs. The signs of a good vineyard are: 1. healthy plants of uniform size, 2. a stout, well-installed trellis system that includes the fruit wire, and 3. a strong training stake. To train a standard: Train the main stem up a stout bamboo cane. Grapes 101 Articles: How Grapes Work (Vine Physiology), grapes vineyard weed and floor management, spanish grapes general vineyard management, spanish grapes irrigation and water management, spanish grapes trellis and training systems, spanish grapes vineyard weed and floor management. Rolled steel or rebar are much better for vine training, especially if the stake is fastened to the fruit wire. Pruning & Training Vines … Growing grape vines in containers: Where space is limited, vines can be pruned and trained as standards, with a single stem with a head of branches at the top. In all cases, any ties around the trunk below the highest very tight tie should be loose enough to allow for vine growth without girdling the trunk. Remove any excess stems appearing from the base The first consideration is whether vines will be trained the year they are planted or the second year. Another common training system is the Geneva Double Curtain. Other limitations, such as limited fruit yields and poor adaptability to mechanization, limit head training to production of high priced winegrapes. Training grape vines.From Beginning To Canopy.pt6 - YouTube The bush vines provide a canopy which shades the grapes from harsh sunlight. Boehm, EW; Coomb, BG. 3). Consider writing a guest blog article! Outside of the U. S., head training is called gobelet or bush training. Grapevines grow by climbing and spreading across trellises, walls, and other surfaces. If growth at the top of the stake is not at least the diameter of a pencil (3/8 inch), the shoot should not be topped. This uniformity is one of the key ingredients to the exceptional winegrape quality produced by many old head trained vineyards. Grapevines display the apical dominance phenomena, in which organs, such as shoots, at higher positions acquire a greater share of vine resources at the expense of organs at lower positions. After selecting a head height, use it consistently throughout the vineyard to promote uniformity among vines in growth, fruit production, and grape quality. Low Vines: Short vine trunks reduce a vine’s exposure to the sun and moderate temperature variation. With minimum canopy manipulation, clusters are exposed to intermittent and/or dappled sunlight. Head-trained Zinfandel vines, Sonoma County, California. What may look rather rigid and somewhat unnatural at first glance, soon enough surpasses any other "free" espalier form: there is no tedious sorting of shoots; pruning becomes routine, and the trunk-stem structure remains very manageable. The grape bunches develop on these cordon arms later on. The most commonly employed training system for this cultivar is head training. Fortunately, fully established, well-formed gobelet trained vines normally lend themselves to this end for the following reasons: These viticultural attributes are among the main reasons why many old head trained vineyards are highly valued in California. Goblet. 1). Slow return on investment is the major disadvantage of head/gobelet trained vines. Training Young Grapevines Training is the process of directing and controlling growth to form a vine with the desired shape and structure. As a result, the goblet form has a deliberate horizontal component to the positioning of its bearing units, which promotes uniformity in shoot growth and fruit development. Classic 8-spur head trained vine in Burness Vineyard on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA. If growth was greater, as many as eight shoots can be retained. When cutting (or “topping”) the green shoot or dormant cane, it is critical that the cut is made at the first bud just below the top of the stake, and the cut should be made on a diagonal through the node so that the bud is cut away but the swelled portion of the cane at the node is retained. Growth vigor is concentrated into one or two shoots at the end of the spurs by shoot thinning early in the growing season. The arms will lengthen every year growing into a vine that may be described by some as “bush vines” or “goblet” shaped.” With head training, the three primary winegrape quality factors – balanced fruit and leaf growth,fruit exposure to dappled sunlight, and sustained moderate water stress –are attained with minimum inputs in many California vineyards. During the spring following the topping, all buds on the trained shoots will begin to grow. A year or two after they are initiated, arms are divided and extended into two or more branching arms. It also allows greater distances for shoots to drape before reaching the ground. If planting material is of high quality and the soil is deep and fertile, vines can be trained during the first year. How To Plant, Grow & Train Grape Vines. 1) In the “head-trained” system, a trunk is established and 4-6 short cordons are developed. Another ancient and still widely-used untrellised vine training is called Gobelet (“goblet” or vase”), also known as bush vine (Australia). Early in development all clusters are removed prior to flowering. Vine establishment. The two shoots selected are then trained up the stake and tied loosely to provide support but prevent girdling. 2000. • Training vines to a single trunk is the most common and simplest method. The stake is generally 3 to 4 ft above the soil surface. Reviewed by Patty Skinkis, Oregon State University. In California, drip irrigation is usually installed in head-trained vineyards as cross-cultivation is rarely practiced today. If summer laterals develop on this remaining shoot, they are to be removed to allow vertical growth of this shoot which is being grown as the main trunk. Once vines are fully trained and developed, head-trained vines require custom canopy management practices. The reasons for its persistence are many. 4). – Vertical distribution of fruit. High Vines: Tall vine trunks lift the grapes higher above the ground to increase airflow and increase sun exposure, which reduces the probability of fungal infections. This top position is tied tightly to the top of the stake. It is important to distinguish between the goblet form of head training and vertical cordons, which some in our industry mistakenly call head training (Fig. While a head-pruned vine produces fruiting canes that drape all around the trunk like an umbrella, the VSP system allows for two cordons (or arms) to extend horizontally from the trunk, with each producing 12-16 fruiting shoots that are trained vertically through the course of a growing season. In the year of training, vines are pruned to a single two-bud spur. It also means that the grape bunches are more even and a better quality if the bearers are well spaced and thus equally strong. There are also a few economic incentives to the head form, including inexpensive vineyard installation costs and for many fully established vineyards, little or no irrigation costs. 2). A 100+ year-old Zinfandel vine with a head positioned near the ground. Standards lend themselves easily to container cultivation. If vines are allowed to yield a full crop too early, shoot growth will be depressed as evidenced by short shoots (<3 ft) with small diameter. Especially noteworthy about vineyard training is the fact that usually the vines are trained with short trunks; that is, no elaborate trunk/stem framework is developed as is common in other training techniques. In this system, vines are trained to a wooden stake positioned at each vine. Pruning grape vines maximizes the amount of one-year-old wood on your plant without encouraging it to develop more grape clusters than it can feed. – More compatible with tolerating winter injury than cordon systems. Standards lend themselves easily to container cultivation. There are two general systems for training vines and two different pruning methods. 1. Obviously, vertical cordons are less conducive to consistent production of high quality winegrapes than goblets. Also at this time, begin to direct the arms upward as well as outward. Head heights range between as little as 6 inches to over 30 inches (Fig. Set up your trellis to train your vines … Simple Vertical Cordon ("Columnar Vines") This form is particularly suitable for narrow, vertical areas and/or for cultivating high quality table grapes. This is because there is an increased risk of rot in humid environments, as the bushy architecture of the vine inhibits evaporation of water from the fruit and foliage. Grapes need to be trained onto a trellis in order to spread the vine and provide light to the leaves and fruit clusters. For widths less than 1.5 m, only one lateral cane is formed. Permanent branches of the vine are … Commonly, 3 spurs are left the first year, but some growers may keep more to promote earlier production. If too many leaves are removed, exposed grapes may be subject to sunburn. From this point, maintenance of the goblet is the goal and for this reason, canes are typically pruned to 1-node spurs during each winter. A version of this article was originally published in the Mid Valley Agricultural Services July 2008 newsletter and was updated for the blog post. Sufficient girth must be attained by the top of the trunk in order to support the shoots and fruit that develop on the upper spurs. Oxford University Press, Oxford. As soon as the shoots have been tied several times and wind breakage is no longer a risk, the shorter of the two shoots should be removed so that the resources available to the vine can be used to invigorate growth of the remaining shoot. In cases where growth was moderate, the top five or six shoots are retained and lower shoots are removed. Fig. If leaves are removed, the general recommendation is to do so very judiciously and early in the season, between berry set and pea sized berrie, so that clusters can acclimate to the exposed conditions. With minimum water and fertilizer inputs, they produce balanced fruit and foliage growth at many locations (Fig. Ideally, vines and trellis(and irrigation if necessary) are installed in the first year and proper training and maintenance can begin. How to - Prune Grape Vines - Duration: 6:33. Vines trained in this manner, referred to as 'head training', essentially resemble a small bush or shrub, and they may be described by some as 'bush vines'. However, if the shoot does not reach the top of the stake until late (August-September), delay cutting the shoot until winter pruning. Head-trained vines are free-standing that is, they grow without the support of a trellis (See Figure 9.3). During this transition, two critical operations must be performed. To subscribe to the Coffee Shop Blog, send an email to with the subject “blog subscribe.”, To join the Lodi Growers email list, send an email to with the subject “grower email subscribe.”. As additional spurs are retained at the top of the vine, the lowest spurs can be removed. (Progressive Viticulture©). 56, 267-283. Be sure to cut back to firm, live wood; the tips are often killed back. (Ed.). If planting material is of high quality and the soil is deep and fertile, vines can be trained during the first year. Grapevines can be trained with a single or double trunk. This method is also among the simplest grafting methods for grape vines, but it tends to be slightly less particular and slightly less successful than cleft grafting. ... Zinfandel Clips What is head training - Duration: 1:23. They are best suited to warm, dry climates, without fertile soil. Head training involves tying the main trunk to a vertical post. Train the vine up a simple wire or wooden trellis. The most common way to do this is through spur training, where you grow new shoots from a pair of canes every year. The past, present and future usages of head trained vines in Lodi.