Pruning trial collaboration underway

Pruning trial collaboration underway

A project to determine which pruning technique is the most suitable for Sauvignon blanc vines is underway in Marlborough.
Pruning trial  group
NMIT viticulture tutor Dr. Stewart Field, with NMIT viticulture student Santiago Mendez (centre) and the BRI extension team members in one of the vineyards involved in the trial.

The pruning trial is a collaboration between Bragato Research Institute (BRI), Marlborough Research Centre (MRC), Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), Mark Allen from Mark Allen Vineyard Advisory Services, and four local growers.

The research, led by BRI, is investigating whether the technique of long-spur cordon pruning could be a suitable alternative to four-cane pruning for high-yielding Sauvignon Blanc vines in Marlborough. Long-spur pruning is quicker, but the debate is around the amount of fruit yield from this technique.

NMIT viticulture tutor Dr. Stewart Field says the trial will compare yields, disease, costs, and wine quality.

He says it is an excellent opportunity for NMIT students to be involved in a real-world research project from beginning to end in the final year of their degree.
“A third-year student from the NMIT Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking degree, Santiago Mendez, has been doing the canopy assessment with Yuichi Ando, BRI’s Viticulture Research Technician,” says Stewart.

The BRI team is now making wine from the grapes at the Research Winery. The trial will run for two more years.

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