Growing conditions in Michigan can threaten the yield and acceptable fruit quality of `Chardonnay' grapevines. Three grapevine training systems, mid-wire cordon (MWC), umbrella kniffin (UK), and a combination of the two (MWC-UK) were evaluated under Michigan growing conditions to determine their influence on yield, fruit quality, cluster compactness, incidence and severity of Botrytis bunch rot, and trellis fill. Vines were grown on C3309 rootstock and pruned to 44 nodes per kilogram of cane prunings. The MWC-UK treatment had an additional 30 nodes per vine retained, and the crop level on these nodes was removed after fruitset. Over a 2-year period, UK and MWC-UK trained vines had fruit soluble solids about 1 °Brix higher and yields were 48% and 63% higher than MWC trained vines, respectively. MWC-UK trained vines consistently out-performed MWC trained vines for all variables measured, while UK-trained vines provided an intermediate response.
Functional leaf area is the basis for vineyard productivity. Therefore, the leaf area displayed on a trellis will determine the productive potential of a vineyard. A device that uses a series of infrared sensors was constructed to quantify vineyard trellis fill. A vertical row of sensors on a moving over-the-row vineyard trailer recorded the interception of infrared light beams through the trellis. These values were related to the total time of measurement to calculate a percentage of trellis fill. Our device was used to quantify differences among training systems applied to `Chardonnay' grapevines. This system is quick, easy, and at least as accurate as currently used visual methods. This technique should be useful for determining the influence of various cultural practices on the development of grapevine canopies.