THE HENRY FAMILY first planted grapes in the Umpqua Valley in 1972. C. Scott Henry III carefully monitored the vineyards as they matured, and it soon became evident that controlling growth was becoming a primary challenge. The rich soil and favorable climatic conditions in the region produced a dense canopy and abundant fruit that had to be managed in order to sustain high-quality grapes for wine. As the vines grew older and more vigorous, Henry tried many different methods to improve degrading fruit quality. One of his ongoing vineyard trials revealed that vine vigor could be discouraged by increasing the number of canes from two to four per plant. Thus, he increased crop level to offset vigor, and loosened bunch crowding to discourage bunch rot. However, this method simultaneously delayed ripening. More leaf area and less leaf density during the fruiting season were necessary.


The Scott Henry Trellis System resulted and has since been adopted worldwide. Four (versus the customary two) canes provide the fruit for each vine and four replacement spurs are selected for renewal growth. Shoot growth from the top canes is trained upward, while shoot growth from the bottom canes is trained downward to maximize canopy surface area and to control vigor. Shoot density is also halved, because only shoots from the top canes are trained upwards, and the remainder is forced to grow toward the ground. About half of the shoots are devigorated because of their (unnatural) downward position. Growth between the two levels of fruit is separated shortly before bloom with the use of two catch wires, which originally rest midway between the two fruiting zones.

Advantages of this system include increased yield, increased Brix and decreased titratable acidity. Experimentation does not show any differences between the fruit of the two tiers. While benefits are several, disadvantages of the system are primarily managerial: the training process itself is a sensitive issue, upkeep is more demanding and consequently, cost is slightly higher than traditional methods. The wines produced from vines trellised in the Scott Henry System, however, are the decisive factor. They consistently show better color, fruit character on the nose and on the palate, and a better palate structure.

The Scott Henry Trellis originated in the vineyard from a grower trying to solve a canopy problem, without incurring overbearing costs. Vigorous bottom-land soils of the Umpqua Valley granted the solution. This system has been largely responsible for the award-winning wines we produce.