Definition - What does Vine Density mean?
Vine density is a vineyard measurement that pertains to the vines and how many shoots per meter there are. It has been debated whether high density or low density vines are preferred more. Most commonly, vineyards prefer a crop that is balanced; if the shoots are too dense the fruit doesn’t receive enough light, and if they aren’t dense enough, they can lose profits from being unable to produce wine from weak vines, or the vines can lose fruit bearing surface, compromising future crops. The density depends on how vigorous the vine grows and vine spacing.
WineFrog explains Vine Density
Vine density can be adjusted to match the types of grape being grown, spacing, land availability, climate and pruning techniques. The most used method to control density is vine spacing. For a vine with high vigor, increasing vine spacing shortens the increased number of shoots. For vines with low vigor, (weaker vines) decreasing space helps to decrease the shoots per vine. Both of these adjustments help develop a fuller canopy and more fruit with just enough leaf area to ripen them.
The decisions of the grower directly affect what kind of crop the vine is going to yield. The vine's density directly affects how much fruit can be produced. If the grower doesn’t space the grapevines out in accordance with their growth pattern, the crop will not yield as much as it’s potential. Climate and machinery requirements can dictate the spacing and also the density. It has been observed in older, very dense vineyards that some are still producing a large yield despite stalks being old and half dead. As the vineyard matures, a denser vine is needed to sustain plant loss during the ageing process. To remain economically viable, vineyards today need to be planted with this factor in mind, especially with those sparser vines/crops that are less dense.