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The Delicate Art of Vine Spacing

If you’re a seasoned vineyard visitor, you may have noticed that at Penn Croft, we plant our vine rows a little further apart. You may be interested to know that there’s somewhat of a science to this, and it directly relates to how we grow our vines, how we keep our vineyard healthy, and even how we maintain a sustainable business.

The Scott Henry training system

Sounds technical, doesn’t it? But really, this is just an alternative approach to how we plant and prune our vineyard. Mr Henry was a viticultor living and working in 1970s Oregon, where he designed a trellis system to improve the quality and yields of vines. 

We could talk about this at great length, but in its simplest form, it’s designed to produce four canes per plant (rather than one or two). This means an increased yield without planting more vines – great for vineyards where space is limited. 

Overall, this training system means that the rows themselves can be wider. So the vineyard as a whole isn’t so densely packed, resulting in increased airflow – important for decreasing disease. In our maritime climate that is humid and cool, airflow helps significantly in keeping the humidity at bay.

The cover crops are happy…

…and happy cover crops = a happy vineyard. Thanks to the additional space between the vine rows, we can really let the cover crops do their thing to great effect. These crops, which consist of beans, rye and clover, promote biodiversity on our site as well as vastly improve soil health. Healthy soil is essential for vineyards, so the more cover crops we can fit into our 12-acre site, the better.

A sustainable space

Finally, our wider rows allow us to use our existing farm machinery that would otherwise be too wide to use in the vineyard. This is great for our sustainability outlook. With fewer specialist vehicles on-site, we reduce our usage of fuel as well as keep our emissions down.

Vine spacing is a subjective approach and can differ from one vineyard to the next. We’ve taken our time to settle on our strategy, and we’re excited to see the results. 

If you’d like to understand more about wine production, then a Penn Croft winery and vineyard tour is a great place to start. We believe wine drinking should be simple, accessible and open to all, so we welcome anyone and everyone to our home in the rolling fields of Crondall.