Keys to a Healthy Canopy

“Grapevine Canopy: The above ground portion of the grapevine formed by the shoot system. It includes shoots (leaves, petioles, shoot stems, shoot tips, lateral shoots and tendrils) and the fruit, trunk and cordon canes. Dense or crowded canopies have excess leaf area and the fruit inside is heavily shaded. Open or low density canopies are not shaded heavily by leaves in the fruiting zone.” – (Dr. Richard Smart, Sunlight Into Wine) Canopy management is a subject that every backyard winegrape grower should understand as there is no study that gives a backyard vineyard more potential for improving wine quality than carefully considered manipulation of leaf-layer number, sun and wind exposure on the fruit (in balance), and the ability to increase fruitfulness in subsequent vintages by activating dormant buds to be fruitful. This article will delve into the work of Dr. Richard Smart, a hero of mine, and will show that understanding and reading Dr. Smart’s book Sunlight Into Wine is homework that is required of any serious student of viticulture. Dr. Smart’s canopy According to Smart, canopy management is defined