Make The Best Grape Vine Trellis For Your Grape Plants!

A grape vine trellis is an inevitable part of grape vineyards without which the latter is kind of unimaginable. Like many other trailing plants, grapevines also need sturdy support because of their morphological incapability of bearing their weight once they start fruiting. Thus, to help you pick the right trellis system for a grape vineyard, we have got all the important info that you should know.


grape vine trellis

The plants of grapes are one heck of survivors that can continue to live in any kind of situation. You can find them growing at the oddest of places in the wild, trailing on any area and living for generations. The key thing you will notice about the grapevines is that they need support to survive in terms of growing and becoming stronger.

The grapevines have higher growth tendencies and they can gain much growth in one season only. The tendrils or side shoots of the plant play a major role in helping the plant move on surfaces. These shoots grow sidewards and hold on to the surfaces that lead to the plant climbing in a certain direction.

Importance of structural support for grapevines

On that note, structural supports like trellis becomes very important to ensure if you want to see your grapevines flourish. The following are how a grape trellis can help your grapevine:

  • The primary aim of a trellis is to support the plant during its mature age. With the entering of the plant in its maturity, fruits begin to emerge and they add more to the overall weight of the plant. This is where the trellis comes to play and a tougher trellis is the best to help the plant stand strong even with the weight.
  • With the right kind of support, grapevines can live for a very long time that can even be over 50 years. Trellis can give that kind of support to these plants.
  • The roots of the grape plants are usually shallow but they can grow deeper too if the vines spread more near the ground. Thus, a trellis can prevent the plant roots from growing too deep and getting ground stuck.
  • The grape plant crawling over or growing closer to the ground is more difficult to harvest and the fruits become highly disease-prone. With the trellis, the plant can be held up and saved thus.
  • The vines that grow on the trellis are easier to harvest as the sections are separated.

About trellis systems for grapevines

Trellises are kind of woven structures that not only provide support to the grapevines but help gardening experts a lot who want to have grapes growing in their backyards even if the conditions aren’t that suitable. At the same time, these structures can be both functionally and decoratively useful depending upon the garden. You can buy a fully assembled trellis or build one on your own as per the size of your garden and the grapevine density.

A grape trellis can be made from a variety of materials like stainless steel, PVC pipes, aluminum, iron, wood, etc, and can be built in numerous shapes and designs. You can even have your trellis systems built in different dimensions like 2D and 3D.

Major aspects to consider while making trellis

You may expect the fruits to emerge on the newer grapevines only after some three years from the plant birth. The point is that it is better than the plant shall be trained to the trail during this time itself. This gives ample time to the vines for adjusting to the trailing in the season and that in turn, helps the plant to grow healthier and sturdier.

The general note on how to trellis grapevines is that the rootstocks are planted in lines following the system of wires and posts that are installed. Analyze the density of your grapevines because even some of them can crowd any space easily and densely enough.

Major factors to consider before picking a grape vine trellis system

Choosing a suitable trellis design for grapevines depends on a lot of factors and here are some of the important ones that you must consider:

  • Location of garden- It is important to consider the type of garden before building the trellis for your grape plants. Factors like terrain type, soil system, etc. Determine the plant growth which in turn will affect the type of support it will seek from the trellis.
  • Grape variety- This is an important factor as the growth tendencies of all the grape varieties are different and that affects the type of trellis that will work for them. Some species might grow upwards while the other may tend to trail downwards, so you would need the right kind of trellis system to match the tendencies.
  • Vine strength- Any grapevine receives individual strength from the plant genes as well as the garden quality and the healthier they grow; the sturdier is the trellis they will want.
  • Ease of harvesting- The size of vineyards determines the kind of harvesting that will be required, manual or mechanical, and in turn, impacts the suitability of the trellis system for those yards. You wouldn’t want the trellis to be too complex for the crop to face harvest issues.
  • Installation cost- The complexity of grapevine trellis systems determines the cost of installations and purchases both. This is why you must wisely plan and everything and then go for the establishments accordingly.
  • Maintenance cost- Trellis systems need constant maintenance and you would want to keep the costs for it as minimal as possible. You can choose the right quality of trellis systems to minimize the need for periodic fixations and repairs etc.

Different types of trellis systems

After having considered the above factors and aspects, you can choose from the following common grapevine trellis systems for your grapevines:

Fence trellis systems

These trellises work best for the smaller grape vineyards where they engage the vines by letting them wrap and crawl around the posts. These include posts made of vinyl, metal, or wood and have cubed structures to allow the proper inflow of sunlight and air into the vines. It is with these fence trellises that harvesting and pruning the vines becomes easier.

Cordon trellis systems

These systems can be called the most optimal ones out of all since they have different levels and rooms to allow any kind of vine growth and vigor. With the initial support ensured, these trellises give additional support when the fruits and foliage develop further. The different levels of wirings incorporated in the system give support to different parts of the vines.

Umbrella Kniffin and four-cane systems

These trellises look like those basic two-wired fences that include wooden posts and steel wires fitted with each other. The posts are inserted into the ground and the wires are stretched and tied between the posts on which the grapevines are trained to crawl.

Tips on training the grapevines to trail

grape vine trellis

After you have installed the trellis system, you can use the following tips on how to trellis grapevines:

  • After the vine sprout and shoots emerge, you need to tie the primary strongest shoot to the trellis, and then it will guide the further vines to go the same way.
  • Keep repeating the above step with every phase of vine growth.
  • The right direction for training the vines to the trail is upwards i.e., towards the sun.
  • Keep pruning out the weaker shoots as that makes the plant healthier and the trailing vine doesn’t have to carry the unnecessary burden.
  • Trim the side shoots to make them stronger for climbing better.
  • Wooden stakes are the better option to choose when dealing with younger vines as they are sturdier support in the times of vines sprouting upwards.
  • Tie the tips of tender and younger vines with strings as that helps them curl and they can cling further in a better manner.
  • Everything aside, the main trunk of the grapevine must remain untouched. If you tie anything to the main trunk, the entire growth of the vines can end up being stunted.


This was all about the importance of a grape vine trellis that plays a very crucial role in the growth and survival of grapevines. Essentially, you cannot imagine having a flourishing grape vineyard without giving them any support structure. You must choose the best trellis system for your grapevines and we hope that our information will prove helpful in that.

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Tom Rico

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