Piloting grape ripening in a global warming scenario: feasible techniques are available

Under the pressure of global warming, several wine grape growing regions around the world are increasingly suffering from advanced and compressed phenology; endangering wine character while also creating serious logistic problems. From a physiological standpoint, the issue of delaying ripening is not simple as, in several instances, only a few processes must be delayed (i.e. sugar accumulation into the berries) while other events such as pigmentation and accumulation of other important phenolic compounds should proceed at a normal rate. Thus, the issue of decoupling technological maturity from phenolic maturity is another important consideration. Over the last decades, several research groups have endeavored to establish alternate cultural practices aimed at addressing this decoupling. In some cases, special applications of quite robust and well known practices regarding physiological principles have been utilized, however some completely new techniques are also being studied. In figure 1 of the review, we offer a panorama of the available tools and in the text we elaborate on those having provided most reliable and consistent results under an array of genotypes and environmental conditions. Among these, primary focus is given to post‐veraison—apical to the cluster—leaf removal (that can also be suitably replaced by applications of anti‐transpirants); the use of kaolin against multiple summers’ stresses; and a drastic version of late winter pruning having the potential to postpone ripening into a cooler period with improved grape composition and a limited negative impact on yield and storage reserves replenishment. 

Authors: Stefano PONI, Tommaso FRIONI, Matteo GATTI

DIPROVES, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense 84, 29122 Piacenza (Italy) 

Email: stefano.poni@unicatt.it

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