Our experts shows you how to prune your grapes in winter to ensure a great crop.

Grape pruning is a vital job in winter, the vines need a hard prune to encourage heavy cropping. However the way you grow them will determine how you prune them, we show you the top three methods below.

Method 1) Rod and Spur System:

For fence/wall/trellis trained vines and those grown in a greenhouse:

  • If in its first year, prune out two thirds of the trunk (the rod) and cut the side branches (spurs) to a strong bud.
  • In year two, prune the main stem back by half, to a bud on mature wood. Side shoots can be cut back to two strong buds.
  • In year three and onwards, cut side branches back to two healthy buds, this is best done in January.

grape pruning

Method 2) Double Guyot system:

For training stems along wires, as seen in vineyards:
  • You should have three stems that grew over summer. Tie one left and one right onto the bottom wire of your support system. Prune the  third, upright stem to just three buds. These buds will make the next horizontal tier next year.
  • In year three prune out fruited horizontal stems, tie new shoots to wire and cut back to about 2-3ft (60-90cm) . Prune the central shoot back to three buds to start the process again.

grape pruning

Method 3) Training as a standard:

Best pruning method for container grown vines:
  • In the first two years allow the side branches to grow from the main stem.
  • Prune out all side branches from the bottom of the main stem, leaving the top branches. Aim to leave six branches at the top for a good canopy.
  • Three years and onwards, prune side branches back to healthy buds to maintain the shape.