Postveraison shoot trimming in Tannat and Merlot: preliminary results on yield components, plant balance and berry composition

There is currently a trend towards the production of wines with low alcohol content. To achieve this, grapes with low sugar content must be used. There are techniques at the vineyard level that can delay ripening and avoid excessive sugar accumulation without, a priori, affecting the final polyphenol content. Postveraison shoot trimming (PVST) is experimentally evaluated for these purposes, but its impact under Uruguayan climatic conditions with high interannual variability is not known. The aim of this work is to assess the PVST in Tannat and Merlot cultivars and their impact on yield components, plant balance and berry primary composition. In this study, two commercial vineyards of 10 years old Tannat and Merlot (grafted on SO4) at Canelones Department were selected. During the 2020-201 growing season, grapevines were submitted to PVST when grapes reached 15º Brix. In a randomized block, trimmed (T) and control (C) plants were evaluated with three repetitions each cultivar. Evaluation of the evolution of primary berry composition during ripening, measurement of yield components and plant balance were performed. For both cultivars, PVST did not affect yield components. Merlot reached 5.4 kg per plant and Tannat 7.1 kg, with not statistical significance between treatments. However, statistical differences were observed in terms of plant balance. In Merlot Ravaz Index reached a difference of 5.3 (12.0 in T and 6.7 in C) meanwhile Tannat reached 3.5 of statistical difference (13.7 in T and 10.2 in C). The tendency to imbalance for the treated plants had an impact on the final grape composition. Merlot grapes showed statistical difference in final total acidity (0.3 g of difference between treatments) while treatments impact final sugar content on Tannat grapes (10.0 g of difference between treatments). Further studies are needed to assess the impact of different canopy management techniques in our conditions.

Authors: Mercedes Fourment, Agustina Clara, Valeria Cazzola, Julia Salvarrey and Diego Piccardo

Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de la República Oriental del Uruguay, Montevideo, Uruguay

Email: mfourment@fagro.edu.uy

Keywords: Tannat, Merlot, canopy management, climate variability, Uruguay

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