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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trimming vines trellised on VSP

I just finished trimming and hedging the vines in the test vineyard to prepare them for bird netting. The Vertical Shoot Position or VSP trellis system is the most attractive. A well-maintained Geneva Double Curtain (GDC) or High Wire Cordon (HWC, also known as Sylvoz) can also be beautiful at various times of the year, but nothing is more gorgeous than a meticulously maintained vineyard of VSP. That being said, it's one of the least productive trellis systems out there. You can produce more fruit per acre on a split canopy, and without loss of quality according to Richard Smart, studies by ace VA Tech viticulturist Tony Wolf and other sources.

But I love the VSP aesthetically pleases me. In some ways it's easier to work allows you more access to the trunk for weeding and hilling (mounding dirt around the trunk to prevent winter free damage). It's more labor intensive to keep it trimmed and to keep the shoots tucked between the training wires. But it's also more logical...for some reason I can walk into a VSP vineyard and know exactly what canopy management tasks need to be tackled next.

Were I planning on planting more than a third of an acre per year, and had I any expectation to be earning a profit at this endeavor any time soon, I'd have to seriously consider GDC for my Cabernet Franc, or some hybrid trellis like the Smart-Dyson Ballerina. But for now I'll just do what feels right.

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