Evaluation of climate change impacts at the Portuguese Dão terroir over the last decades: observed effects on bioclimatic indices and grapevine phenology

In the last decades the growers of the Portuguese Dão winegrowing region (center of Portugal) are experiencing changes in climate that are influencing either grape phenology berry health and ripening. Aiming to study the relationships between climate indices (CI), seasonal weather and grapevine phenology, in this work long-term climate and phenological data collected at the experimental vineyard of the Portuguese Dão research centre between 1958 and 2019 (61 years) for the red variety Touriga Nacional, was analyzed. The trends over time for the classical temperature-based indices (Growing Season Temperature – GST -, Growing Degree Days – GDD, Huglin Index – HI and Cool Night Index – CI) presented a significantly positive slope while the Dryness Index (DI) showed a negative trend over the last 61 years. Regarding grapevine phenology, an average advance of 4.5 days per decade in the harvest day was observed throughout the last 61 years. Consequently, the weather conditions during the ripening period have changed, showing an increasing trend over time in the average temperature (higher magnitude in the maximum than in the minimum temperature) and a decrease in the accumulated rainfall. A regression analysis showed that ~50% of harvest date variability over years was explained by the temperature-based indices variability. These observed effects of climate change on bioclimatic indices and corresponding anticipation of harvest date can still be considered advantageous for the Dão terroir as it allows to achieve an optimal berry ripening before the common equinox rains and, therefore, avoid the potential negative impacts of the rainfall on berry health and composition.

Authors: Vanda Pedroso1, Pedro Rodrigues2 and Carlos M. Lopes3

1DRAPC/Centro de Estudos Vitivinícolas do Dão, Nelas, Portugal
2Escola Superior Agrária de Viseu, Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Portugal
3LEAF, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Email: carlosmlopes@isa.ulisboa.pt

Keywords: early ripening, growing season temperature, harvest day, Touriga Nacional

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