This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Is there any objection against the training of the long arms of grapevines (in the vineyard), pruned according to the annual renewal system, very low, say within one or two inches of the surface ? Then the shoots being annually cut off an inch or two from these arms in the fall would much facilitate the covering of the vines with earth for winter protection, as I have ever found it hard, or impossible, to bend old vines.
An answer to the above query in the Horticulturist will oblige,
Yours truly, J. F. Cass.
[We see no objection to training the horizontal arms of the vine within six inches of the ground; except that of its placing the fruit so near the ground as to cause it often to be bespattered with dirt. Our idea of annual renewal system, however, is evidently very distinct from yours. We cut away each autumn all the old two or more years' old wood; and as our young canes have been started and grown from eyes two to six inches from the surface-crown of the root, there is no trouble whatever in laying down the young cane. We are glad to hear you are exempt from all diseases of the vine. May it ever be so with you].