> Hi, I'm new to this forum and wonder if anyone out there has any good
> and most importantly, simple advice on training and pruning a grape
> vine. I have planted a vine in my garden and am attempting to train it
> up a pergola, with the ultimate aim of having bunches of grapes hanging
> down over my head, whilst lounging underneath with a book and glass of
> wine!! My idea is to use a double curtain method, taking two leaders to
> the top of the post and then training two shoots from each along wires
> over the top of the pergola. My question today is that the leaders have
> now reached the top so should I pinch them out to form side shoots, or
> is it the wrong time of year to do this? I have read that summer
> pruning might lead to the sap bleeding out which might even mean death
> to the vine? Is this right, so should I leave the leaders and prune
> later when the plant is dormant? Any advice would be appreciated as
> each book I read gets me more confused about this.
You can pinch out new green shoots without them bleeding: the bleeding
problem is if you cut into old wood during the growing season. Indeed,
proper culture requires a lot of such pinching out.
Basically you will just let the vine grow this year, while making sure
taht those shoots you want to keep for next year are trained into the
right direction. You might want to train more than one potential leader
in roughly the right direction, and then choose the best (fattest) one
at the end of the season.
At the end of this year, in the dormant season, you will reduce the vine
to just the two leaders you require - remove all other shoots and any
side shoots off those leaders, and shorten the leaders to the required
length. Next year you will train side shoots off those leaders along
wires to form the framework you require. (If there are misbehaviours,
absence of shoots in the correct places, etc, you can train replacements
in following years.)
In future years, you will allow fruiting shoots to form off that
framework, and as they form you will pinch out each fruiting shoot to 5
leaves - which is long enough to get all the grapes you will get off
that shoot. Laterals, ie sideshoots off those fruiting shoots will
form, and those should be pinched back to 1 leaf, you will get no grapes
on the laterals. Later in the season you can selectively leaf-prune to
ensure the bunches of grapes get the sun exposure they need. You might
also want to thin out the bunches of grapes to a realistic yield, as
over-production will slow ripening and keep the grapes small.
You will then prune the fruiting shoots right back to the framework vine
at the end of the season.