The varied origins of the new inhabitants of the island led to a wide variety of different systems for growing vines. In traditional planting systems, the vine spends much of its non-growing cycle, mainly in winter and spring, lying on the ground. In July, the vines are lifted off the ground (known as the “levantada” or lifting) and attached to forked arbours, usually made from branches from the laurel forest, mainly tree heath, wax myrtle or holly. Up until then, these forks have been stacked together on the ground.
In the Tacoronte – Acentejo District, they use a traditional growing system in which the vines are trailed horizontally along low arbours. The vines are planted in lines, making it possible to see continuous strips of vegetation, know as “marjas” or “majaras”. In the lower foothills of the district, we can find arbours that are scarcely half a metre off the ground. In this area, the forks are known as “ganchillos” or hooks, as they have a V-shaped fork at one end to support the arbour. In the higher foothills, however, arbours are about a metre high.
In the Valle de la Orotava District, you will find one of the strangest forms of training vines, the multiple braided cord. To make the multiple braid, or “rastra” or “machos” as they are known, the vines are trained horizontally. These braids are usually formed about 50 cm above the ground. Like other areas of the island, the braids are traditionally dismantled in winter to make way for other crops, generally potatoes, during the vines’ time of hibernation.
The most wide spread system used in the District of Ycoden – Daute is the high arbour, built along the borders of each field or vineyard, covering the edges in a strip up to four metres wide. The typical feature of the arbours in this area is the fact that they are built with a marked lean, making them similar to the trellis system. Unlike other areas of the island, the superstructure of the arbour usually remains in place throughout the year, it is not taken down.
In the districts of the south-east, the most commonly used system is the low arbour along the borders of the vineyard. The structure supporting the arbour is made from two wires that set the width, with the forks placed horizontally across them.
Finally, there are other systems in the island, of great interest, such as the cup formations of Vilaflor or the Semi-arbours of the upper reaches of the Valle de Güimar District and the slopes of the Anaga mountains.