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Choosing a Trellis System For Your Vineyard

In the wild, Vitis vinifera sylvestris (the forest vine that makes wine) cannot support itself as it grows. By understanding the needs of a wild vine, it will quickly become apparent why we need to trellis cultivated grape vines. We’ll also understand how the shape of the trellis will impact vine yield, sun exposure, and ultimately, wine quality. A wild vine cannot support its own weight, especially when young, and relies on existing structures — namely trees — to climb up. Mature fruit is consumed by birds, who then fly away and drop intact seeds to the ground as waste. A small percentage of these “pre-fertilized” seeds find a moist spot to germinate, often in the shade of a tree or bush, and the vine begins to grow — very slowly for the first few years, then more rapidly after the root system has developed and some leaves on the vine reach direct sunlight. As the vine comes out of dormancy each spring, it produces growing tips flanked by wiry tendrils that search for structures to wrap around and support