Grapevine (Shiraz/Richter 99) water relations during berry ripening

Ellis, Warren (2008-03)

Thesis (MscAgric (Viticulture and Oenology))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


The effect of various irrigation strategies on grapevine water relations during the berry ripening period was investigated in a Shiraz/Richter 99 vineyard. Comparisons between different irrigation strategies (full/seasonal, véraison+post véraison, post véraison and no irrigation) were made. During the day, the seasonally irrigated vines experienced less water stress than the deficit treatments. Non-irrigated vines seemed to maintain higher diurnal leaf water potentials. Lower leaf water potentials indicated lower water contents in the vegetative and reproductive tissue. Full irrigation seemed to stimulate primary shoot length. Longer water deficit induced earlier and more complete shoot maturation (reserve accumulation). Re-distribution of leaf area on the shoot may occur when vines are subjected to water deficit. Extended water deficit seemed to induce earlier and restricted water loss from vegetative tissue. The water relations were reflected in the berry size. Irrigation during ripening seemed to induce a continuation of berry water loss. Transpiration losses were apparently much higher in fully irrigated vines whereas stomatal control efficiently maintained water relations in non-irrigated vines. Water deficit seemed to have enhanced the soluble solid accumulation. Irrigation treatments did not seem to affect the titratable acid and pH. The post véraison irrigation in particular seemed to favour a wide window for harvesting. Irrigation at post véraison and especially véraison+post veraison seemed to have a greater effect on the synthesis and extraction of phenolics, anthocyanins and tannins in the berry skins. Different irrigation strategies may affect grapes in such a way that different wine styles are obtained.

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