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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUSTAINABLE VINEYARD PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

Location: Crops Pathology and Genetics Research

Title: Influence of floor management technique on grapevine growth, disease pressure, and juice and wine composition: A review of recent literature

Authors
item Guerra, Bibiana -
item Steenwerth, Kerri

Submitted to: American Journal of Enology and Viticulture
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2011
Publication Date: November 11, 2011
Repository URL: http://www.ajevonline.org/content/early/2011/11/09/ajev.2011.10001.full.pdf
Citation: Guerra, B., Steenwerth, K.L. 2011. Influence of floor management technique on grapevine growth, disease pressure, and juice and wine composition: A review of recent literature. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. doi: 10.5344/ajev.2011.10001.

Interpretive Summary: Vineyard floor management is increasingly regarded by the wine industry as a valuable tool to fine tune vine vigor and achieve wine quality. In recent years, there has been a trend to move away from traditional practices like cultivation or herbicides, in favor of more sustainable approaches such as cover crops and mulches. These latter two techniques are covered in this review in more detail than the former two. Cover crops can fit a wide variety of climate and soil situations, and can provide the right amount of vine vigor by adjusting parameters such as length of time they are left on the floor, extent of floor covered, or species aggressiveness. Cover crop recommendations from various sources for a variety of vineyard situations are presented. Cover crops have the potential to improve the health of the soil and the vine. In most cases, cover crops increased juice soluble solids and decreased titratable acidity and pH. They also tended to increase anthocyanins and other phenolic components, and more often than not were associated with red wines judged superior than those issued from non cover-cropped vines. A wide variety of organic mulches are discussed that improved soil water content and friability. These mulches often resulted in improved vine balance, increased yields, and reduced disease pressure. Plastic and fabric mulches remain impractical due to the high installation cost. The use of newer techniques, such as flame weeding, is challenging due to the critical role that weed stage and weed species play in its effectiveness, which continue to limit their widespread application.

Technical Abstract: Vineyard floor management is increasingly regarded by the wine industry as a valuable tool to fine tune vine vigor and achieve wine quality. In recent years, there has been a trend to move away from traditional practices like cultivation or herbicides, in favor of more sustainable approaches such as cover crops and mulches. These latter two techniques are covered in this review in more detail than the former two. Cover crops can fit a wide variety of climate and soil situations, and can provide the right amount of vine vigor by adjusting parameters such as length of time they are left on the floor, extent of floor covered, or species aggressiveness. Cover crop recommendations from various sources for a variety of vineyard situations are presented. Cover crops have the potential to improve the health of the soil and the vine. In most cases, cover crops increased juice soluble solids and decreased titratable acidity and pH. They also tended to increase anthocyanins and other phenolic components, and more often than not were associated with red wines judged superior than those issued from non cover-cropped vines. A wide variety of organic mulches are discussed that improved soil water content and friability. These mulches often resulted in improved vine balance, increased yields, and reduced disease pressure. Plastic and fabric mulches remain impractical due to the high installation cost. The use of newer techniques, such as flame weeding, is challenging due to the critical role that weed stage and weed species play in its effectiveness, which continue to limit their widespread application.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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