This training technique - also known as "free," "wild," "irregular" form or "fan espalier" - is the most common and probably also the oldest technique to train vines on walls. It is predominantly used outside wine-growing regions and is inferior to the strict cordon forms, because fans often become messy and unmanageable. Nevertheless, to provide a complete picture of vine training techniques, it is described here.
This type of vine training is probably the oldest form altogether.
Rectangular or square areas, a minimum of approx. 1.5m x 1.5m to 7m x 7m and larger. Depending on the situation, fan espaliers can be developed into an extensive and varied stem framework, in order to frame windows for example. However, the number of arms and branchings has to be limited to ensure that there is a space of 0.5 to 1.0 metres between them on the outer edge of the vine.
Trellises with wire, wire rope or timber slats. One can select to have either all vertical or all horizontal axes or 50cm x 50cm grids. The stem framework is tied to the trellis, the green shoots and grapes can grow freely into space or are also tied to the wires or rods or tucked behind them.
See below for Diagrams. For good results, the trained fan needs to be pruned with a combination of techniques, ie in the lower area preferably Spur Pruning, changing to Rod Pruning in the middle and to Cane Pruning in the upper canopy. This can make it difficult for beginners. Unfortunately, due to a lack of pruning knowledge the espaliers quickly become messy and unmanageable, if the stem framework and side shoot positions are not clearly separated.