Pruning Grapevines by Byron Chitwood.
When research is done on anything to do with growing grapes, the name Thomas Volney Munson surfaces. T.V. Munson as he was commonly referred to was born in Astoria, Illinois in the early 1800’s. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1870. Early on he pursued a lifelong career of developing grape varieties. His first choice of location was in Nebraska. However, cold weather conditions and insects wiped out his early experimentation. T.V. had two brothers who had settled in the Dennison, Texas area and he moved to that area to pursue his studies of grapes.
Although Munson studied all aspects of grape growing, his study of rootstocks of grapevines had the greatest impact on viticulture. He found that the wild Mustang grapevines were resistant to a disease, Phylloxera, which was devastating the European grape wine growing industry. The European variety of grapes could be easily grafted to the Mustang rootstock and were Phylloxera-resistant. Great amounts of the Mustang grapevine stock were shipped to France for grafting of their varieties of wine producing vines to the Mustang rootstock. He was recognized as the savior of the French wine industry and was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French Government.
Grapes like deep and well drained soil in an area that has full sun. Purchase bare rooted varieties which can be planted in the winter or container grown ones can be planted anytime. If more than one vine is being planted, space them about eight feet apart. Plant either variety with one or two buds above the soil line. Allow the plants to grow the first season without any trimming. Keep the soil moist during the first year. At the time of planting, place a stake next to the planted grapevine. However, do not tie the vine during the first growing season. Build a trellis with heavy posts sixteen feet apart, depending on the size of the vineyard you plan to plant. String Trellis wires between the posts at 42 and 72 inches above ground level. With only two posts and three stakes, three grapevines can be planted the first year. For each additional post, two more grapevines can be planted.
During the second growing season, cut the plant back so that it only has two buds. These buds will grow into shoots. The two buds mentioned above will develop into “canes”. Carefully tie the stronger of the two to the stake. When it reaches the 42 inch level, cut the growing head off and train two branches to grow along the trellis wire. Let the other cane grow to the 72 inch wire and repeat the process of training branches to grow there.
The third year is the first fruiting year. During February or March, trim spurs or hanging branches to about five per side of the main trunk. Trim these back so that there are three buds per spur. Each one of the buds will grow and produce fruits. Be sure the spurs are live and not dead.
This is an abbreviated lesson on grapevine printing. If you are really into growing grapes, there are numerous sources of information available on the internet or in most gardening books.