Mesoclimate impact on Tannat in the Atlantic terroir of Uruguay

The study of climate is relevant as an element conditioning the typicity of a product, its quality and sustainability over the years. The grapevine development and growth and the final grape and wine composition are closely related to temperature, while climate components vary at mesoscale according to topography and/or proximity to large bodies of water. The objective of this work is to assess the mesoclimate of the Atlantic region of Uruguay and to determine the effect of topography and the ocean on temperature and consequently on Tannat grapevine behavior. For this purpose, an automatic weather station and a network of 19 temperature sensors were installed in 2018 in plots of a commercial vineyard in contrasting topographic situations. Nine sensors correspond to Tannat plots. Based on the climatic data for 2018-19 and 2019-20 growing seasons, bioindicators for grapevine were calculated and relationships between site topography and plant response were analyzed. Temporal climate variability between the two growing seasons is explained by rainfall and spatial variability was associated with plots’ topography. Altitude was the main feature that statistically differentiated the plots’ temperature. The effect was observed on thermal amplitude, Cool Night Index, number of days above 30 °C and maximum summer temperature. During the summer of the warmest growing season (2019-20), at 14:00 LH the average thermal difference was -1.7 °C in favor of higher altitude (140 masl) compared to lower altitude (70 masl). The main factor conditioning this result was the ocean proximity and exposure to sea breeze air circulation. Plots in higher elevations favored grapes with higher malic acid content, while lower elevations showed berries with higher amounts of secondary metabolites. This study provides knowledge about Tannat behavior under ocean condition and in a complex region which could be of value to adapt sustainable viticulture techniques.

Authors: Ramiro Tachini1, Milka Ferrer1, Valérie Bonnardot2, Martin Fanzone3 and Mercedes Fourment1

1Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de la República Oriental del Uruguay. Montevideo, Uruguay
2University Rennes 2, LETG-UMR 6554 CNRS, Rennes, France
3Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Mendoza, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Mendoza, Argentina


Keywords: mesoclimate, South America, Oceanic wine region, Tannat, grape composition

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