Adam, it's up to you how you want to grow the tree. True VdB at UCD is a dwarf tree, around 9 feet tall with loads of fruit. I let some of mine grow as a 3 or 4 branch bush making sure there is enough air in the center to allow air.
Same here Grant. My LSU Scotts Black and LSU Black, Sal, Ventura, Hollier, Malta Black, Desert King, Improved Celeste, and others never die back. And now, its the first year my Black Jack and Improved Brown Turkeys did not die back. TO me, the key is the size of the root system. I use to have a huge Ronde de Bordeaux years ago. The 5 degree temps 2 years ago wiped it out but it has come back from the root ball.
Last year, Marius placed his Vasilika Meisi rootball and stump on eBay for 45 bucks. I bought it, placed in a 26g self watering pot (SWP), covered it with weed guard and added a layer of hydrocorn. You should see that due today! I placed it in full sun and just left it alone. That hydrocorn provides a lot of heat to the root ball and that dude just took off! And I haven't even fertilized it yet! I'll post some pics tomorrow.