The grapevine is basically a climbing bush. This means that it needs a kind of supporting system in order to develop properly. Right after the plantation/installation of the vineyard, as soon as our plants have developed their first shoots, it is time to apply the shape our vines are going to have. Selecting the vine training shape is a multifactorial decision. It depends on the climate conditions (winds, temperature, sun exposure), the type of soil, and the variety in question. Training is achieved through support (stacking) and pruning. Through the right training, we seek to achieve optimum plant development, conditions that prevent pests and diseases outbreaks (for example proper aeration and sunlight penetration) and facilitation of harvesting and other cultivation techniques.
It's important to keep in mind that all the green parts of the vine are cut back down to the original shape each winter during the winter pruning, leaving only the trunk and, depending on training system, one or more main shoots.
There are several different vine shapes preferred for different situations and needs. One way to classify training systems is based on the trunk height. Following this classification, we end up having two major training categories: Low trained and high trained
A.) Low trained category includes vines where we keep the trunk very short; somewhere between 20 and 60cm
B.) The high trained category includes vines where we keep the trunk slightly higher at between 60 and 120cm
The most common vine training systems are the following:
The cordon shapes are often used in warm climates, just like we have at Mallorca and thus at Binivista we have trained our wines in a two-sided or "double" -cordon" as described below. The cordon shaping can be done both high and low depending on micro climate and grape variety. Our vines are kept rather low and trained at around 50 cm above the surface. This height refers to the main trunk and the wire along which the 2 mains shoots are trained horizontally.
Single or "Royal" Cordon
This is a commonly used training technique by which farmers basically leave one main shoot or "cordon" per vine.
Two-sided or "Double" Cordon
This training technique is similar to the Royal Cordon. The only difference is that there is a second shoot or "cordon", bent opposite of the first one. This is how we shape our vines.
Some other popular training systems:
This type of training is probably the oldest one. It’s preferred in hot and dry areas where you have non-irrigated vineyards and poor soils.
Following this type of training, the trunk is kept at 20-30 cm height, keeping three to eight cordons around the trunk to create a goblet or "cup". Goblet is a free shape technique, meaning it does not need any trellising.
This system is often used in cool climates. Farmers who choose this training technique basically follow all the steps of two-sided training, with one main difference. They prune one cordon leaving six to ten buds and the second one leaving only two buds. The long cordon gives the fruiting canes, while the short one will typically produce two new cordons. Subsequently, one of these new cordons is pruned at six to ten buds and the other at two buds. This way, producers continually replace the cordons shifting the fruit bearing side from one to the other every second year.
This training technique is often used to shape table grape varieties and rarely used for the production of grapes for wine. However, there are a few exceptions, mainly in northern Italy, Argentina and Spain. For the pergola, the trunk of the plant is trained very high and the shots all placed horizontally up above, basically creating a "roof" or pergola as the name suggests.
The main trunk requires at least two years of growth to reach the optimal height and quite a bit of attention during this period in order to ensure the correct shape. Once optimum height is reached, a wire plexus is installed above, along which the shoots are then trained horizontally.
Lyre or U shape
This shape is similar to the two-sided Cordon, but here the two main cordons are bent onto two different trellis systems forming a cross. Basically you will have two shoots from the main trunk going out at a 90 degree angle towards another wire running parallel to the row of the main trunk. Here the shoot is split in two and one trained to the right and one to the left. These will be the ones carrying grapes. This training system offers a lot of advantages, including great aeration, sunlight penetration, and grape shading. However, it requires a lot of effort to install and maintain and thus is not as common as the simpler two-sided cordon.