Shoots of even vigour and length, carrying similar crop loads is the aim of most viticulture. Some people achieve this with cane pruning, but we prefer spur pruning.
On a low vigour site like Tixover, spur pruning requires patience.Try and elongate cordons by more than four buds at a time, and they suffer from acrotony: the canes shoot at their ends, but not in their middles, so that the distance between renewal points the following year is too great. Likewise, lay down canes that are too long, and already established spur positions further down the cordon will fail. Normally 10cm is a sufficient distance between shoots, but inour damp and sunless climate we look to achieve 15cm of separation between 1 bud spurs.
Each Cordon will eventually carry 6-7 spurs, with a renewal spur just above the rootstock graft. This basal renewal spur gives us an option to replace and rebuild the vine’s aerial structure if the vine becomes diseased, or we start to drop spur positions along the cordon. Secateurs are a useful measuring tool in the vineyard. The gap between single-bud spurs needs to be less than the length of the secateurs, and cordon extensions again run the risk of acrotony if they are longer than the secateurs.
One unanticipated consequence of spur pruning is improved frost resistance. When we have suffered frost damage, shoots on spurs seem a degree or two hardier than shoots on canes.