Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

pergola, a form of overhead vine training. Where the canopy is horizontal, the pergola can alternatively be called tendone. Pergola trellises can be either one or two armed, depending on whether the vines are trained on one or both sides of the row. If the trellis is joined overhead, it is called a closed pergola.

The pergola is widely used in northern Italy, where the canopies vary but are often inclined rather than horizontal (in Trentino, for example, the slope is 20 to 30 degrees). In Emilia-Romagna the pergoletta system is used, while the pergoletta Capucci was developed by the eponymous Bologna professor. The pergoletta a Valenzano is very similar to the geneva double curtain. Where the vines have marked vigour, the bunches which hang below the leafy canopy are in shade, with predictable negative effects on wine quality. This century there has been a resurgence of interest in pergola systems. It does intercept most if not all sunlight, and so has a high yield potential in marginal climates. The overhead leaf canopy may be an advantage as temperatures increase with climate change, and in aosta its value in protecting against hail has been noted.