Planting new vineyards and orchards requires well thought-out planning, the right tools and high-quality materials. There are a number of operations to be carried out. This includes preparing the land and squaring it out, determining the plantation boundaries, providing the necessary space for machinery to manoeuvre and laying the required fencing to protect the plants from wild animals.
Among the many design choices, we would like to highlight the importance of making an informed choice of materials, especially wires, the quality of which has an impact on the durability of the entire system in relation to weather, mechanical stress and exposure over time.
Vineyard planting: role and use of wires
Wires have the role of supporting the growth and development of the vine. The most suitable type of wire should be chosen based on the layout of the vineyard itself (number of plants, length of rows, distance between support poles) and the machinery used for plant management and harvesting. The wires must ensure excellent performance over time, offering resistance and durability even in the event of mechanical stress, adverse weather, sudden temperature changes and crop treatments.
With regard to the layout of the vineyard itself, various vine cultivation techniques exist. Among the most common are espalier, pergola and free cordon. The differences are analysed below.
1. Espalier vineyard
Also known as the Guyot vineyard, after the French winegrower of the same name, it is the most widely used form of cultivation for vines that don’t grow excessively and usually produce excellent quality wines.
The structure of this type of vineyard also allows machinery to be operated effortlessly for topping and tying up the shoots and for harvesting.
For planting, poles are used that are spaced about 6 metres apart, to which a support wire is attached parallel to the ground to hold up the fruiting shoots. One or more appropriately spaced pairs of wires are then placed on top of the support wire to accommodate the vegetation and enable it to grow vertically.
2. Pergola vineyard
Very popular in north-eastern Italy, it was invented in the 1950s in the United States and then revised in the following twenty years by the University of Bologna. The pergola vineyard is based on a scaffolding consisting of two parallel permanent cordons placed about one and a half metres apart, with two supporting wires hooked to poles equipped with self-supporting trellis arms. This configuration allows the vegetation to grow horizontally and ensures the grapes are suitably exposed to the sun and very well ventilated, thus limiting disease outbreaks.
3. Free cordon vineyard
This structure includes a single permanent cord placed horizontally to the ground at a height of between 120 and 150 cm above the ground. No support wires are provided for the spurs, which therefore germinate upwards and fall back with the weight of the grape clusters. The support wire alone bears the weight of the entire vineyard, which is why it needs to be at least 4 or 5 mm in diameter.
Given its configuration, the free cordon greatly facilitates the mechanisation of operations and, by altering the structure to obtain a mobile cordon, vertical rather than horizontal shaking harvesting may be done.
If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, we recommend our mini guide: How to create a vineyard simply and securely
Planting an orchard: role and use of wires
Planting an orchard requires several elements common to all types of structures. The most important are:
- Supporting poles
Made of pre-stressed concrete or wood.
- Anchorage systems
Necessary to ensure the stability and durability of the whole system.
- Measuring arms
Very strong structures to be mounted on poles to support plants.
Formed from intertwined galvanised steel wires, they keep the orchard taut by connecting the poles to the anchors, thus providing stability even in adverse weather.
A further key element in the planting of an orchard is the wire. The wires play a dual role: they support the orchard plants and connect the poles together. As with the vineyard, they must be chosen carefully in order to create a properly designed and long-lasting structure. The choice of material for orchard wires is galvanised steel, which must be of the highest quality as it must be able to withstand mechanical strain, water, frost and sudden temperature changes.
It should be added that there are different forms of orchard training. The six standard and most internationally widespread forms essentially include Spindel, Superspindel, V-shaped, Y-shaped, Vase and Pergola. They all guarantee high quality standards for production.
Naturally, the final structure of the orchard must be decided based on a careful analysis of the factors involved, such as the features of the land and the plants and the special climate features of the location.
Cavatorta wires for planting vineyards and orchards
The Cavatorta catalogue includes galvanised steel wires whose features are specifically designed for vineyards and orchards. Here we describe them in brief.
Heavily galvanized steel wire supplied in both standard or pattern laid coils of selected weight. Galvafort zinc coating is far superior to the minimum thickness required by European standards. The coat is clean, homogeneous and uniform, and constitutes a double barrier, both physical and electrochemical, against oxidation.
High carbon content steel wire, with coating in zinc (95%) and aluminium (5%) alloy. Galvatec wire effectively addresses the needs of modern vineyards and fruit orchards, as it is subject to less than 10% elongation, maintaining its mechanical characteristics unaltered for the entire lifespan of the vineyard, more than 30 years, drastically reducing maintenance.
Galvatec T100 is the evolution of Galvatec wire, and presents a series of additional advantages, including, for example, lower elongation (max 5%), a higher tensile strength and more resistance to stress. Galvatec T100 is the most effective of the alternatives to stainless steel wire, as it also boasts an excellent price/quality relationship.
Green PVC coated wire on galvanized core. The hot galvanized blade of steel is immersed in a bath of special primer, which determines adhesion of the PVC to the galvanized steel wire.