Can I use the same wire for all trellis wires?
A: Yes, you can use the same wire for all trellis wires.
Most wine grape growers typically use 12 1/2 gauge hi-tensile
wire for all foliage and cordon wires, though 14 gauge H-T wire
is used by some growers for foliage wires. This lighter gauge
wire is less costly on a per foot basis then 12 1/2 ga.. For anchor/end
post wires, growers typically use multiple loops of 12 1/2 ga.
H-T wire or one loop of 9 ga. H-T wire.
How do I anchor my cordon and drip wires to the end posts?
A: The Wirelock wire anchor is an easy and convenient way
of anchoring these wires to the end posts. A 5/8" hole is
drilled through the end post at the height at which the wire you
want to anchor is located. Simply run the wire down the row and
feed it through it through the 5/8" hole. Cut the wire leaving
2-3 feet of excess. After cutting the wire, slide the Wirelock
wire anchor onto the wire and insert into the hole. The Wirelock
wire anchor allows wires to be re-tensioned should they become
loose. Additionally, no tool is required to release wire tension
should that become desirable, and one size Wirelock accommodates
most sizes of wire.
Which type of wire should I use in my vineyard?
A: The most common type of wire used in vineyard applications
is class 3 galvanized H-T wire. While some growers use aluminum-clad
wire, this wire is not recommended for vineyard use. Aluminum-clad
wire does not offer the galvanic healing properties of galvanized
wire. Should the coating on aluminum-clad wire become damaged
(through nicks or abrasions caused by machinery, pruners, mishandling,
etc.), bare steel will be exposed to the elements, rust will surely
develop, and the wire will eventually fail. Even the popular Gripple
will eventually chip away at the aluminum coating of aluminum-clad
wire and eventually fail. A brand new type of wire on the market
is called Zalcote wire. A hybrid
of aluminum and zinc, Zalcote wire offers a minimum life expectancy
of twice that of class 3 galvanized wire. Zalcote, in addition
to offering the benefits of galvanized wire, offers the benefits
of aluminum-clad wire.
What is Zalcote wire?
A: Zalcote wire is a high quality hi-tensile wire, coated
with a coating containing a mixture of 95% zinc (nominal) and
5% aluminum (nominal). The coating offers all the benefits of
galvanized wire including its galvanic healing properties, but
also the corrosion resistance properties of aluminum. The wire
is comparably priced to class 3 galvanized wire. Tensile strength
of the Zalcote wire are 200,000 psi to 244,000 psi. Zalcote wire
is suitable for electrified and non-electrified fences.
How do I pay out my wire when constructing my trellis?
A: The vast of majority of H-T wire is packaged in coils
that contain no reel or spool. To pay out this type of coil, a
spinning jenny or wire dereeler is necessary. These devices allow
the wire to spin freely and wire to be removed systematically.
In addition to the standard coil, we offer galvanized wire on
a wooden reel. The wooden reel does not require a spinning jenny
or dereeler to pay out the wire. All that is required is a steel
rod or similar object that is inserted into the center of the
spool. Several spools can be stacked either side by side or onto
one another and multiple wires can be run simultaneously. Growers
find it convenient to place 1-3 spools on a rod that is inserted
onto their tractor's 3-pt hitch. Wire can then be run down the
rows simply by driving the tractor down the row.
What are the advantages of the Vinstake trellis stake over timber
A: The Vinstake metal stake is easier to drive into the
ground than timber posts. The Vinstake metal stake is ready to
use once driven into the ground. Because of the stake's built-in
wire tags, no staples are needed to contain trellis wires. The
Vinstake's built-in flexibility require less beater power of mechanical
harvesters during harvest, thereby reducing potential vine damage
caused by harvesters. Because the Vinstake can be driven into
the ground with a hand held driver, it is ideal for replacing
posts in existing vineyards.
far apart should I space the Vinstakes?
A: Vinstakes are to be spaced according
to expected crop loads. The greater the expected yields, the closer
the spacing. Common spacings are 3 vines per panel.
are the differences between T-Posts and the Vinstake?
A: T-posts are not recommended as vineyard
trellis posts. T-posts are not galvanized as the Vinstake, they
bend not flex like the Vinstake, and perhaps most importantly,
T-posts require the use of wire clips to contain trellis wires.
With multi-wire systems such as the Scott Henry system, T-post
wire clips can become very cumbersome and labor intensive to install
and maintain. Additionally, T-posts are very difficult to retrofit,
should the decision to switch to another trellis system be made.
do I drive the Vinstake into the ground?
A: Most users of the Vinstake use the
hand driver that is specially made to fit into the Vinstake. The
driver is made so that it cannot turn or pop out from the stake
Can I tie knots in the wire to fasten the wire?
A: We do not recommend that you tie any knots in hi-tensile
wire. Numerous tests have proven that knots reduce the integrity
of H-T wire, significantly reducing the wire's tensile strength.
If I cannot tie my wires, how should I "tie-off" my
A: Foliage wires can be tied off a number of ways. They
can be permanently tied off using crimping sleeves. Crimping sleeves
are a permanent way of tying off wires, therefore the wires cannot
be re-tensioned unless they are cut and re-crimped, or unless
in-line strainers are spliced into the lines. Re-tensionable splicing
hardware such as the Gripple and Wirelok Wire Joiner are effective
methods to fasten catch wires, and can be re-tensioned should
the wires become loose. The Gripple should not be used with aluminum-clad
How does the Gripple differ from the Wirelok Wire Joiner?
A: The Wirelok is basically an industrial strength gripple,
only better. The Wirelok Wire Joiner is used in exactly the same
manner as the Gripple though Wirelok's holding strength is approximately
45% greater then the Gripple. The Wirelok is suitable for aluminum
clad wire whereas the Gripple is not.
How tight should I tension my trellis wires?
A: Cordon wires should be strained to approximately 250
pound/ft. Although no hard fast rules exist, experienced vineyard
manages consider less than 15 cm sag at mid panel during harvest
acceptable. Foliage wires need not be tight. Though the looser
they are, the greater the sag that will occur as the weight load
increases. The greater the sag, the greater the amount of shading
that can occur.
How do I secure moveable wires to the line posts?
A: Moveable wires can be secured to line posts using the
prudent wire clip or galvanized "J" staples (aka one-leg
staple). The prudent wire clip is the most effective way of securing
moveable wires. Attached to the post using a standard two-leg
staple, the prudent clip is made of durable UV inhibited plastic
and has clips on both the top and bottom of the clip to "grab"
the wire. "J" staples, while effective, are cumbersome
to drive successfully into the post and have a tendency to pop
out of the post and turn upside down. Perhaps most importantly,
"J" staples will eventually rub the coating off the
wire it is holding. Allowing rust to form and the wire to prematurely
age. The Prudent Wire Clip will not damage any type of coating
and is especially recommended for aluminum-clad wire.
How can I prevent shoots from hanging into the middle of the row
and blocking sunlight?
A: If the foliage wires are sufficiently tight, you may want to
try using the "C" clip to tighten up the wires a bit
more. The "C" clip is UV inhibited plastic and helps
to tighten up the canopy and eliminate excessive unwanted shading.
How do I get the earth anchors into the ground?
A: There are several ways of doing this. You can auger
a hole, put the anchor into the ground, then backfill the hole
with soil. Alternatively, the anchors can be screwed into the
ground either manually or mechanically. Adapters are readily available
or you can build one that will enable you to screw the anchor
into the ground using the PTO driven auger. If screwing the anchor
into the ground manually, insert a rod into the eye of the anchor
How far should the anchors be put into the ground?
A: Growers typically either screw them far enough into
the ground so that approximately 8-10 inches of the anchor rod
are sticking out of the ground or they screw them completely into
the ground, leaving the anchor eye at or slightly below ground
level. By leaving 8-10 inches out of the ground, the anchor can
be easily spotted thus avoiding damage to machinery and the anchor
itself. By putting the eye of the anchor at or below ground level,
most potential damage to machinery can be avoided.
Should the earth anchors be installed straight into the ground
or at an angle, pointing towards the end post to which it will
A: Ideally, the anchor should be installed at such an angle
that it is simply an extension of the wire connecting the anchor
to the end post. Practically speaking this can be difficult to
do. If the anchor is place straight into the ground, periodic
tensioning will likely be required until the anchor becomes more
and more in line with the end post/anchor wire.
If I need to cut corners to save money, can I cut corners on the
type of end assembly that I use?
A: Perhaps the most important part of the trellis is the
end assembly. End assemblies are components that have the biggest
role to play in keeping wires taught and carrying the changing
weight loads brought on by canopy and fruit density, temperature
fluctuations and wind. End assemblies typically carry between
1,570-3,370 pounds force. Wires used in end assemblies should
equal the sum of all wires secured to the end post. In other words,
if the trellis system used has 2 cordon wires and 6 foliage wires
(count foliage wires as half) then use 5-6 strands (or 2-3 loops)
of tie back wire on the end assembly. Line posts play only a small
part in supporting vineyard canopies.
How high should the tops of the posts be?
A: For non-divided canopies such as VSP, line posts are
typically 8' long, with 2' in the ground, and 6' out of the ground.
For divided canopies such as the Scott-Henry or Smart-Dyson systems,
9' line posts are standard, with 2' in the ground, 7' out of the
How high should the Cordon wire(s) be placed off the ground?
A: Varying from sight to sight and even among different
trellis systems, cordon wire(s) are typically at least 36"
off the ground though examples can be found of lower cordon wires.
For areas prone to frost, higher placements of cordon wires should
be considered. Placement of these wires should be decided upon
only after issues such as frost, machinery to be used, varieties
planted as well as ease of harvesting issues are considered.
What can I use to encourage newly planted vines to grow straight?
A: Newly planted vines should be trained so that the trunks
grow as straight as possible. Grow tubes can help with this, but
vine ties can be used as training ties. As the vines grow upwards,
be sure to have the vine tie wrapped around the vines sufficiently
enough to ensure straight growth. One side of the vine tie contains
"rounded" edges that will help to damage any unhardened
tissue. This side should be wrapped so that it comes in contact
with the vine.