Shaulis, Nelson

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Shaulis, Nelson (1913–2000). Born in Pennsylvania, Nelson Shaulis was destined to have a greater impact on world viticultural practice than most of his scientific contemporaries. His eastern US origin was appropriate, as this was the region of his greatest influence. He began his career at the Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva (see cornell university), in 1948, and retired as Professor of Viticulture in 1978.

Shaulis can be considered the father of canopy management, although the term was not coined by him. In his early experiments with concord grapevines, he realized that limits to yield and ripeness were a consequence of shade within the grapevine canopy. The solution was simple enough in hindsight, but revolutionary for the time. By dividing a dense canopy into two less dense canopies, shade could be reduced, and suddenly yield and ripeness could be dramatically increased. The new trellis design, first published in the mid 1960s, was called the geneva double curtain. As an important further extension to this work, Shaulis and colleagues developed the world’s first mechanical harvester of grapes and subsequently undertook important primary research on mechanical pruning.