Vines are planted in north-south rows with an 8-foot row width, and a 6-foot spacing between plants. The plant density is 908 vines per acre.
Vines are being trained as bilateral double cordons on a vertical shoot positioning (VSP) trellis system. This standard and proven method of vine training maximizes interception of sunlight by the canopy, while allowing exposure of the fruit to sunlight and air. We are experimenting with modifications of the VSP system.
The image below shows the trellis system in an initial 3-wire phase. The cordon wire height is 40 inches. The top 2 wires are stationary catch-wires, positioned at 10 and 32 inches above the cordon. A single movable catch-wire will be installed on the east side of the trellis at a height of 24 inches, allowing the canopy on the west side to grow into a moderate sprawl, which protects the bunches from the intense rays of the afternoon sun.
Example Second Leaf Syrah Plant
Every plant is trained to a steel post, whichs optimize machine harvest by providing the most integrated, ridged trellis structure possible. This trellis system will last decades. The end posts and anchors are carefully aligned. Steel posts are set based on a grid system using an extremely accurate GPS survey. Those steel posts not only align nearly perfectly along north and south axes, but also create complex diagonal patterns, as shown in this photograph.
The plants may not care but we do.