Shoot Thinning

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

shoot thinning, vineyard operation normally carried out by hand in the early spring which consists of breaking off unwanted shoots arising from the vine’s head or cordon. Sometimes these shoots have no bunches and are called water shoots. The shoot-thinning operation can be done most quickly when the shoots are 20–40 cm/8–15 in long and the bunches are quite visible, which allows discrimination between fruitful and non-fruitful shoots. The aim of shoot thinning is to reduce the density of the canopy and to avoid leaf congestion later in the season. This can help improve wine quality (see canopy management) but is common only in regions with plentiful and relatively inexpensive labour. Shoot thinning by machine is possible but not common. See also desuckering.