Canopy and Crop Load Management for Vine Balance and Fruit Quality in Wine Grapes
Horticultural Crops Research
2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research project is to determine the balance between canopy and crop level manipulation in vineyards, and to quantitatively assess the effects of so-called 'vine balance' on fruit chemistry.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A field-based approach will be taken, using mature wine grape vineyards. Crop load will be adjusted to within, above- and below- the wine industry's standard recommendations for the cultivar and production district. All other vineyard management will follow standard practices for the cultivar and production district. Canopy and fruit microclimates will be characterized quantitatively at physiologically important stages of vine and grape berry development. At commercial maturity, fruit will be analyzed for standard maturity indices, phenolics, and other compounds associated with quality.
It is important for grape growers in mild or moist climates to manage the number of shoots produced by a grapevine each year so that they can expose the fruit to sunshine and produce better quality fruit for the wineries. This work is building upon an earlier experiment in which the question was asked about whether the yearly growth of the vine could be controlled by groundcover between the vine rows. With groundcover it is possible to draw some of the water away from the vines. Excess water is the source of the excess growth. This year the new project was set up in a commercial vineyard. In process are measurements related to the growth of the vine; quality of fruit will be assessed at harvest. The expected significance of the work is to give growers in these climates additional farming tools to manage their annual growth and grape quality more efficiently. This research was conducted in support of objective 305 1B Perennial Crops of the parent project.