Over the past year, I’ve been visiting the Arroyo Grande Valley to work on a video project. I was collaborating with Doug Timewell, who grows Zinfandel and Petite Sirah on head-trained vines and makes wines under his Toucan Wines label.
Doug and I met to film several times during the 2011 season to document key stages in the management of he head-trained, spur-pruned canopy system.
When I planted the first block of my vineyard, I was relying on the advice of my friend, Jeff Miller, to make vineyard decisions. Together, we decided that head-trained vines would be a good choice for my vineyard because of the local climate as well as my budget.
While Jeff has freely shared what he knows about growing grapes and making wine, I still had many questions he could not answer. These had to do with the details of developing a goblet. With a paucity of detailed, step-by-step information about this canopy system, I found myself flying blind, not sure how to go about the process.
Head-training and spur-pruning is among the oldest and simplest canopy systems. So, establishing a vineyard of vines trained this way should not be rocket science. Yet, I did not know how to get from the new benchgrafts I’d just put in the ground to those distinct, goblet-shaped vines associated with California’s oldest vineyards.
I reached out to Doug Timewell and the conversation led to this unique opportunity to learn from him and document the management of goblet trained vines.
This first of five videos focuses on training newly-planted vines into a goblet and then training up and establishing goblet-shaped vines. In order to get from that first shoot to six or eight widely-spaced arms on the finished head, a primary bifurcation, then a secondary and, finally a tertiary bifurcation must be created. I structured this video to illustrate the wrong way and the right way to go about this.
The other videos will discuss Pruning, Shoot Thinning, Cane Training and Pre-harvest Netting.