Twisting or trimming?
After flowering we focus on the development of the fruits on healthy plants. The longitudinal growth of the vines becomes less important than the prospering of the grapes. If you let the vines just grow, their tendrils soon will no longer have a hold on the trellises and hang down finally building a bell-shaped roof that would take away the sun from the other leaves and from the grapes. A more humid microclimate underneath would favour diseases.
A timely trim of the vines is the classic method to avoid such a scenario. However, by cutting away large parts of foliage we lose some valuable energy that the plant has already invested, as well as their potential future contribution in assimilation. At the same time, this action will accelerate the growth of the berries, even more so if grapes have been “parted”* before, and finally trigger more unwished side shoots.
So, for some years now, we try to optimize our results in some top vineyards with less vigorous growth by “twisting” instead of “trimming.” We do not cut off the shoots but wind their tendrils several times around the highest wires. As a consequence, they will not interfere with the fruit zone and keep functioning for the energy supply of the plant, while the grapes receive just soft impulses to grow. Thus, we also hope to prevent botrytis and achieve smaller, more aromatic berries.
We have just finished “winding” in the LYRA trellised vineyard along the “Weinwanderweg” on the “Langenloiser Käferberg.” On the way to its pretty landmark (Heimo Zobernigs’ metal sculpture) one can view how it looks.
*grape “parting” means taking away the top of a grape bunch (30 - 50%) in order to reduce the amount of berries on the stems. This will not only reduce quantity, but also give more space to the remaining berries and again help to keep them healthy.