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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).

Several grapevines, loosely connected to form an espalier band, a ribbon of green.
Espalier ribbon
The same espalier "ribbon" as above, before winter pruning, trellis system as per cable system 3050
Weinberg Erziehung
After winter pruning, 2 lateral, slightly arched canes ("flat arch," see photo below)
Vineyard house
Young vine with 2 canes and a replacement spur; detail of image above
Winter pruning
Older vine without replacement spurs; detail of image above
Detail of winter pruning
Grapevine that has been vineyard-trained on a wooden trellis, budding in spring; bilateral, slightly-arched canes
Detail of upper left photo (espalier band), grape harvest with high yield
Grape harvest on an espalier
Grapevine on 3 horizontal wires as per cable system 1020. For widths less than 1.5 m, only one lateral cane is formed.
Cultivating vine on houses
Vines with medium-height trunks on two horizontal wires as per cable system 1060, bilateral slightly arched canes
Curved (arched) cut, vine
On wooden trellises, the canes can be bent into a semi-circle; here several vines are trained as semi-circles.
Arch-trained grapevine
Small espaliers with vertical and horizontal wires
Grapevines on small espaliers
Vine with vineyard training, bilateral slightly-arched canes ("flat arch"), trellis as per 8010
Espalier grapevine
Young vine, bud burst in spring, on a narrow espalier with just a single cordon (one lateral cane); at the bottom right, a replacement spur on the head of the vine
Trellis on a wall base
For very narrow espaliers (approx. 50 cm wide), a single lateral cane is formed as a full (circular) arch.
Small espalier
Circular Cane ("full arch"): a cane trained into a circle on a very narrow trellis after pruning, bending, and tying; the staggered heights of the buds ensure that the grapes are better distributed vertically and don't press against each other.
Circular Cane Training
Semi-circular canes can be tied to horizontal wires as long as there are more than 3 - 4 wires available
Climbing area for house vine