Definition - What does Cane mean?

In the context of wine grape vine maturity, a cane is a mature shoot on a vine that is at least a year old. Canes have a visible and well developed layer of bark and no longer have leaves. Canes, make it possible for grape vines to spread fruit and form new leaves, grape clusters and shoots. Canes that are older than a year old, are referred to as "old wood" and can be used as a trunk for new shoots and canes.

WineFrog explains Cane

In viticulture it is important for wine grape growers to properly manage new canes as they play a vital role in the growth and development of the wine vine and the wine grape yield. Trimming or choosing canes will determine how the vine trains and grows in the vineyard. Not all shoots will develop into canes, growers monitor the growth of shoots from the time they are buds to determine which ones they will allow to grow.

Canes that are thicker, or growing closer to the trunk and that are widely spaced, are often chosen as the best fruiting wood, while canes that are thinner and spaced closer together are not chosen, as thin canes can break and clusters that are too close hold moisture and increase the chance of disease. Cane management during the growing season is vital to the grape harvest, as shoots and canes that are not actively growing grapes compete with the grapes and the vine for resources. Canes are cut back after harvest, to promote new growth for the next growing cycle.

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