Abstract The results of characterization for four different vine shoot varieties, grown using two different methods, revealed no significant differences in composition among vine varieties or between growing methods. The holocellulose content of vine shoots (67.14%) is lower than those of other non-wood raw materials (e.g. wheat straw, sunflower stalks, cotton stalks, etc.), but similar to those of pine and higher to those of olive trimmings. On the other hand, their lignin content (20.27%) is similar to those of eucalyptus and the non-wood raw materials. Also, their contents in cold-water, hot-water and 1% soda solubles, and ethanol–benzene extractables, are higher than for pine and eucalyptus. Soda, kraft, ethanol and ethylene–glycol pulping processes have low yields (29–47%) relative to the pulping processes applied to olive trimmings and wheat straw. Kraft pulp is that exhibiting the best properties, including a higher α-cellulose content (73.74%) than pulp from wheat straw or olive trimmings, but a higher lignin content (17.18%). Also, kraft pulp provides paper with the highest breaking length, burst index and tear index (viz. 1316 m, 1.63 kN/g and 1.59 mN m 2/g, respectively); these values, which are intermediate among those for olive trimmings, wheat straw and sunflower seeds, are low and can be substantially improved by appropriate refining of the pulp.