Training vines in the UK

Canopy Management

Canopy Management and vineyard design is an area on contention. Gillian Pearkes of Yearlstone (left picture) advocated closely packed rows of low GUYOT trained vines in order to develop a micro-climate in which the grapes could ripen.
Generally these rows were about 4 feet apart. Bernard Theobald of Westbury vineyard advocated the high-wire Geneva Double Curtain method (See diagram below), growing them 'High and wide'. Both methods have their followers.

Other method include the Bordeaux Lyre (illustrated below) and the double canopy Scott Henry. Richard Smart of Australia is the main current writer on the subject. He says that adequate canopy is required to provide sufficient leaf photo-synthesis. Any leaf allows through only 10% of the light that hits it, so the third level of leaf will be letting in only 1% of sunlight. To overcome this, vines need trellissing that will allow maximum exposure of all leaves to sunlight, with at least 60% of the fruit visible . The vertical canopy should have light on both sides, with the gap between the rows equal to the height of the canopy. His main principles are:
  1. Large well-exposed surface area which will develop quickly in Spring
    • Canopies should not be so close together as to cause shading.
    • Within the canopy, shade should be avoided especially in the cluster/ renewal zone at the base of the shoots.
    • Shoot and fruit growth should be balanced to avoid excesses and deficiencies
    • Fruiting/renewal zones should be of similar height for all vines to make it easier for mechanisation
One example of his theory would provide the following