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Vinetalk with Mark Lingenfelder

Chalk Hill Estate

FFWS took a fieldtrip into the vines with Mark Lingenfelder to get the latest updates from Chalk Hill Estate. Mark explained how he uses VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioning), a system that was developed in Northern Europe to avoid an overgrown canopy block light from grape clusters. The purpose of this system is to avoid overgrowth in the canopy that blocks sunlight from reaching grape clusters. With VSP, a dappled light structure allows filtered sunlight to reach grapes creating an ideal environment for flowering and fruit growth. During this manual process, two-sided wires are pulled upwards and any straggler shoots are tucked into the wires to orient the vine vertically. One stagnant wire is located at the top allowing vine tendrils to attach themselves to this wire – shoots will generally grow about 12 inches above this wire. 

Often times it is necessary to open leaf space up to allow for more sunlight; part of Canopy Management, this process called leaf removal. Mark notes that at Chalk Hill, the vines are exposed on the eastern side as opposed to the western side due to harsh afternoon sunlight that can damage the fruit. Mark and his team begin the leaf removal process in May when the laterals are young enough to be easily removed.