Lyre system

Definition - What does Lyre system mean?

The Lyre System is a method of canopy management that trains the vines to grow upwards, rather than hanging down. The Lyre System is also known as the U Shaped Trellis; it allows the air and sun to circulate through the vines, which makes it a good way to prevent mildew from growing on the vines. This system of canopy management is seen on vineyards with high-yielding vines and is most common in the New World.

WineFrog explains Lyre system

The Lyre System involves dividing the trunk of a vine into two cordons (branches) at around 32” tall and training them to grow straight out to either side on wires, similar to a “t” shape. As the vine grows, it produces shoots (canes or vines), which are trained to grow up from the cordon. Two or three pairs of moveable wire curtains are used to hold the shoots in place. At full growth, the top of the trellis can be anywhere from 46” to 60”. The Lyre System starts with spur pruning - the process of removing shoots from the cordon of a vine each year, so that new shoots grow directly from the cordon, rather than growing from year-old canes. Some winemakers use cane pruning with the Lyre System instead of Spur pruning, but it is very rare.

Training the vines in this manner requires that the vines themselves be hearty and high-yielding. This ensures that adequate shade is provided under the canopy and prevents over-heating and drying out the trunk or soil. Low-yield vines would require a different canopy method to accommodate the thinner canopy.

Developed by Alan Carbonneau in the 1980s as a variation on the Geneva Double Curtain, the Lyre System is most commonly used in New World vineyards, like California, and coastal production areas.

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