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October 20, 2009

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Does the Lyre system have added expenses or any drawbacks under certain conditions?

Funny, when a bunch of us were in Burgundy 10 years ago, we went to the viticultural research station and noticed that they were growing their clone trials with a lyre trellis. When I asked them why, they said "Because it gives us the best quality fruit." Me: "Then why don't any producers in Burgundy use a lyre trellis?" Them: "Because it's against the law!"

Gotta love the French.

Peter, that has got to be the funniest thing I've read on this blog in some time.

Are you guys using Lyre at all at Fox Run? If not, why not?!?!

To Jason's questions, what are the drawbacks and tradeoffs?

Lenn/Evan/Jason - you guys are almost asking for a thesis on canopy management, but here goes a very shortened answer:

Yes, the lyre system can be more expensive for at least a couple of reasons: 1) it uses more wire and metal supports, and therefore costs more to establish, and 2) it can cost more to prune and harvest than a VSP system because you have more shoots, canes, etc., and I don't know of anybody who can harvest a lyre trellis in the Finger Lakes mechanically.

The lyre system is a divided canopy system, which is designed for vineyard sites with higher vigor. It allows for more buds to be retained per vine and allow the shoots from those buds to be spread out over a larger "surface area". It all comes back to research by Dr. Nelson Shaulis at Cornell many years ago, who developed the Geneva Double Curtain trellis (originally for Concord vineyards) to increase the amount of exposed leaf area per unit of fruit on the vine (the always elusive concept of "vine balance"). This work has been expanded upon by a whole host of viticulturists around the world to develop other training systems, including the lyre. But study after study has shown that, in the right situation, divided canopy systems can improve productivity without sacrificing fruit quality - even improving it in some circumstances.

Hans, your summary is informative in scope and impressive in its brevity. Thanks for spelling it all out!

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