Hi there friends,

I would like to share this email I received yesterday with you.  Maybe you have the same situation Leo has.

Here is the mail.



I have a question for you to see if I’m on the right track.

My grapevine didn’t grow very well last year, but thanks to your guide I ordered this winter, I now know what went wrong / what I did wrong.  Anyway, my grapevine is halfway up the training string, about 2 feet from the bottom wire of the trellis and the buds are swollen and show signs of bud break. 

I know your guide clearly says to prune back if you didn’t achieve the first year’s goal, but should I really prune back to the ground and start all over again?

Thanks for all your support and well done – your program is just awesome!



First of all, thanks Leo for the kind words…

This is quite a common question asked by new vineyard owners and should be, because this is where so many go wrong!

If you didn’t succeed with getting your young grape vine to at least the bottom wire of the trellis during the first year, then YES, it is best to prune back and start over again.  Start by looking for the reason why your grape vines didn’t do that well and eliminate that problem as quickly as possible.

Second, prune the grape vine back to three buds above the graft union (if it is grafted vines off course :-) ) and 3 to 5 buds for non-grafted vines.  New shoots will develop from those buds and you then need to choose one or two to train as the stem of your grape vine.


The picture above is a young vine in one of my vineyards that came loose from the training string and the wind twisted it and it broke off about halfway up the training string (where the arrow 1 is). 

The difference between this vine and Leo’s vine is that it was a strong growing grape vine, that would have reached the top wire of the trellis easily.  Now the question is; should you prune back this vine as well.

You can clearly see all the lateral shoots (arrow 2), I removed from the vine.  In other words, it is a strong vine.  If this is your situation you don’t need to prune back all the way to the ground.  Simply train a new training string from where the vine broke.  I normally consult people to look at the diameter of the vine – if it is as thick as a pencil or more, then your vine is strong enough to be trained from half way up the training string.  Or at least prune it back to where it is the diameter of a pencil.

The key is to develop a strong root system first, then go ahead and start constructing the frame work or cordon.

So Leo, in your case I would prune back the vine to 3 buds and start over again – at least this time you know what to do and not make the same mistakes as the previous growing season!

Good luck and I hope this article gave you some insight the whether you should prune back your grape vine or not.

Have a lovely weekend



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