Vineyard Year – Tying Down
Once pruning is completed and the old skeleton canopy pulled out, work quickly moves on to tying down the vines, well ahead of the coming bud burst to avoid any undesirable heavy handling bud damage. Grapevines are true vines, unable to support themselves like a tree and in need of training on a suitable trellis system – a high training system in fact, to minimise the risk of frost and to make vineyard work easier, particularly at harvest time.
We use the Guyot system, a traditional practice popularised by Charles Guyot in the 1860s. In fact, we adopt the ‘double Guyot’ system where canes are tied down over the fruiting wires in a double arch, extending on both sides of the vine to the mid- point between neighbouring vines.
Selecting the most suitable canes to be left behind for tying down, the ones that will be most fruitful, is an important part of the pruners skill set, with considerations of position in relation to the crown, pencil thickness, absence of disease, consistent and even bud spacing – those tying down then only have the onerous responsibility of arching and tying these carefully selected canes, without snapping them in the process – no pressure then! The unwelcome and unmistakable crack of a snapped cane is one of the vineyards ultimate professional embarrassments.Back to article list