If you are lucky enough to live in a natural environment covered by a sea of vineyards or if, for example, you have been to Rueda, La Rioja or Castilla La Mancha, you will surely have noticed that the vineyards are not the same. If you look carefully at the landscape you will notice that both their layout and their shape change.
Traditionally, vines were planted in goblet shape, at ground level, the plant expands and acquires its shape. In the second half of the 20th century, trellising began to be used as a way of training the vines. The plant grows from the ground and is formed through a metal structure that gives it height.
Once we have identified the two types of existing vineyards, the following question arises: Which type of training makes the vineyards more suitable: goblet or trellis? We will tell you their main characteristics and also the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.
The main characteristic that defines this type of plantation is based on how the vines grow freely at ground level, acquiring a rounded shape. It does not require any type of artificial structure to support or guide it during its different phases of growth. It is simpler, easier to form and natural.
Despite these benefits, as the plant is ground level growing, it has poorer oxygenation and less sunlight for the bunches. Moreover, they produce fewer clusters than trellised vineyards.
This vineyard is worked manually, as it is not possible to mechanize the plot due to its typology and characteristics. For this reason, the labor costs used to be higher.
When we talk about the traditional way of planting, we are dealing with longer-lived vineyards. Many experts argue that bush vines tend to produce higher quality grapes as they acquire all the nuances of the terroir more directly.
Goblet-trained vineyards are common in areas with a deep-rooted winemaking tradition, such as the D.O.Ca Rioja, although they can be found in any area.
The height of the plant is its most characteristic feature. The vines grow from the ground up to an installation of wires in line to support their arms and tendrils.
This type of vineyard, orography permitting, offers the possibility of mechanising the whole process, which means lower labor costs.
We are talking about plantations that offer greater grape production, higher yields and homogeneous ripening. The higher altitude provides greater ventilation and sunshine for the bunches, which is very positive when it comes to avoiding certain diseases in the plantation.
Trellised vineyards are characteristic of the Rueda Denomination of Origin, although their use is widespread and has become popular in the different D.O.’s at a national level, such as Castilla La Mancha.
We try to solve the question: goblet or trellis?
If we take into account the economic factor, a trellised vineyard, once implanted, as all the work can be mechanised, tends to cost less than a goblet-trained vineyard. Moreover, we must not forget that, with trellising, we obtain a greater number of clusters per plot.
If we are looking for a manual plantation and follow the more traditional viticultural canons, goblet-trained vineyards are ideal.
In conclusion, both types of vineyards, well worked and always looking for an adequate production, offer us the possibility of making excellent wines with their own personality.