In bygone times, the horizontal cordon method was widespread for training grapes on house façades. Foliage and fruit grow from one or two horizontal, rigorously trained arms or cordons. Unilateral cordons (1 angle) and bilateral cordons (T-shape) are possible, the vertical main trunk remains usually without foliage.
The cordon tradition was passed down as "Thomery-Cordon" from a French village of the same name near Fontainebleau / Paris. Outstanding table grapes were grown in this way from quality grapevines. The photos shown here were taken mostly in the east German region of Saale-Unstrut.
Horizontal bands usually 70 - 120cm height, narrower strips are greened with so-called Garlands. The optimal length for a unilateral cordon used to be 1.2 m in Thomery, or 2.4m for a bilateral cordon. For the contemporary grafted and vigorous vines, these can be longer, however for covering very extensive areas it is best to train several vines. If at all possible, the two arms of a bilateral cordon should be of the same length. The minimal distance above the ground is approx. 0.5 m, but heights of 5 - 6 m are possible.
Trellis Systems and Timber Espaliers. Includes usually a vertical wire rope to guide the vine upwards, and 2 - 4 horizontal wire ropes (spaced 25 - 35cm apart). The cordons or arms are tied to the lowest wire rope, from where the yearly new shoots grow to several tiers, where they become entangled with each other. If shoots are not entangled with others, they are either tucked behind the wires or tied to them.
For training procedure refer to the illustrations below. On the horizontal arms or cordons, vertical shoot positions (VSP) spaced approx. 15 - 20cm are developed. If these VPS are rigorously developed from the upper side of the cordon (from every 2nd or 4th bud), the cordon will be more productive and longer-living, because there are no sap flow obstructions in one half of the arm cross-section. Only cordon extensions are usually trained from buds on the lower side of the cordon.