Small Espaliers and Espalier Bands

Vineyard-style training methods are also very effective for training grapevines against a wall or facade. This technique lends itself particularly well to small trellises, but works great for longer ribbons of greenery at any height. By planting several vines, a designated greening area can be covered very quickly. The simplicity and efficiency of this training technique makes it preferable to the horizontal cordon.

Grapevine trellis in Schweinitz Elster / Sachsen-Anhalt, around 1900

Spatial Requirements

Horizontal espalier 'ribbons' (long, narrow bands of espaliers) require an espalier height of 0.7 - 1.2 metres; that is, the distance between the lowest and highest wire should be at least 70 cm. For aesthetic reasons, we recommend keeping a minimal distance of 25 - 40 cm from house corners, windows, doors, and other wall openings (refer to our Planning Tips). A vine with bilateral (double) canes requires a width of about 1.5 m, and a single cane a width of about 0.8 m. For a cane bent and tied into a bow ("circular cane," see below), the espalier width can be as narrow as 50 cm.


Small or narrow, ribbon-like trellises are best; for suitable wire rope systems, refer to grapevines.

Establishing and Pruning

As described for vineyard training: for the usual bilateral arched canes, 3 espalier wires are sufficient. For high espaliers, the vertical main trunk is trained correspondingly high; if growth is rather weak, this training period is extended for another year. For very small or narrow spaces, only one lateral arch is formed and is tied as a circular cane (see sketch below, right).