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Need some advice with 2nd year CT vineyard...

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I didnt get many replies to my last post, so I am trying again. Most of my vines are in their second year and have reached the fruiting wire.

My first question is regarding TWC: Most of my TWC vines have reached the top wire and I am in the process of establishing cordons. I plan on double trunking all of my vines. The cordons are now sending out shoots and I am not sure how to manage them. To establish spurs along the cordons, should I be selecting only downward oriented growth in a TWC? The vines are sending out shoots from all over, and I am not sure whether I remove those growing upward or just train them to weep downward. Also, should I be removing any clusters developing above the top wire? I Think I know the answers to most of my questions, but without having someone to talk with I am unsure of a lot of things. Ill try to post some pics when I get home tonight. Thanks!
 

KevinL

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So I'm a newbie to a lot of this myself, but I'll give this a shot since I've got just about all of my vines on a TWC.

What year are your vines in? I think from your post it sounds like you're in second or third year where you have last years one year growth that reached the top wire and you're now looking at what will eventually be your fruiting canes for next year. What variety are you growing?

For me I've got Hybrids, and all of them bud out growing upwards. Even the spurs that are downward facing sent out their shoots toward the sun at the start of the season. Now many of them are hanging down in a curtain like I'd expect them to. Basically I wouldn't worry about which direction they're growing when the buds break. I do some shoot combing later in the season once I'm confident things are secure along the cordon. Other than that and pulling some leaves near the fruiting zone, I don't do much else for canopy management.

With that, all of the clusters I had that developed above the top wire are now at it or below because of their weight and the fact that most of the shoots now drape downwards.

As far as selecting spurs for next years growth, that'll be done when you prune over the winter. It's much easier to sort out then anyways. Hope this helps, and perhaps someone more experienced with TWC will chime in.

Good luck and hopefully you have a great growing season. Feel free to update things as they come along. Pictures are always welcome.
 
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Thank you so much for your reply!!!! Yes, most are in their second year. Im growing America, Baco Noir, Marquette and a couple table grapes on TWC.
 

KevinL

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After I wrote that and did some dishes I ran out and took a few photos.

This one is of my 4th year hardware store Niagara that has endured being transplanted. It only just reached the top wire last season, so it is in the same stage as your 2nd year vines. All of the shoots you see here started out growing upwards. I'll pick which of these shoots will become my fruiting canes for the next year when they're dormant.

IMG_0759.JPG

Whether or not you remove any clusters will have to do with whether or not you intend to cluster thin. The concern is the vigor and health of the vine. I've found for all of my hybrids that vigor is not an issue at all (in fact they're a bit too vigorous so I left a lot of fruit on for the second year.) The ones that are in their third year I'm letting them keep their full crop (See my cluster thinning Frontenac thread).
 

BigH

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To establish spurs along the cordons, should I be selecting only downward oriented growth in a TWC? The vines are sending out shoots from all over, and I am not sure whether I remove those growing upward or just train them to weep downward.
You will want a spur every 4-6 inches, which is pretty much at every node if you have your vines in balance. Comb upward growing shoots down when they are strong enough to take some rough housing without snapping. Eventually, gravity will be on your side.

Kevin is right. It doesn't really matter which direction the spur faces, the shoots will all want to grow skyward on many varieties. I almost prefer an upward facing spur on strongly upright growing varieties. I only have to comb and bend one arc into it.

Also, should I be removing any clusters developing above the top wire?
Conventional wisdom says that you should remove those clusters and not take a crop this year. If you have lots of vigor and your shoots (aka future spurs) seem to be the right thickness, then you could keep a small crop and use the grapes to learn how to make wine. I read an article once where the researcher favored keeping a small crop in year 2 on rich soils to prevent excess vigor and bull canes.

I tried to harvest a crop on my second year frontenac, but I didn't know anything about sprays and disease management. Lost it all to black rot. If you don't have a spray program going, there is a good chance you may suffer the same fate.

H
 
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