Chapter 8

Trellising Grapevines

Choosing a Trellis System

Choosing what trellis system to use for a new vineyard, or deciding to change an existing system, involves more than just economic considerations. It’s a complex equation that varies for each vineyard that depends on several factors, including growth habit, vineyard potential, vine vigor, and mechanization.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors that influence vine vigor such as temperature, topography, soil, rainfall, and wind need to be considered when matching the vineyard design and trellis to site-specific factors that influence potential vine growth. Warm summer temperatures and large amounts of sunlight exposure encourage large canopies, while cooler temperatures or constant and high-velocity winds in the spring and summer result in less-vigorous growth. Soil texture and potential vine-rooting depth also influence vine growth.

Growth Habits

The growth habit of the variety can dictate training system options. For example, many of the varieties native to the United States and their hybrids have procumbent growth habits, meaning, they tend to grow toward the vineyard floor.

Vine Vigor

Vine vigor can often determine the choice of trellis system. Highly vigorous vines require larger, more expansive trellising systems than low-vigor vines. For example, choosing a single wire trellis over a multi-wired trellis system with moveable foliage wires may be sufficient for varieties with low vigor.


Trellising is a critical consideration for vineyards seeking a high level of mechanization. All trellis and training systems can be mechanized to at least a limited extent, but some can be more easily and completely mechanized than others.

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