Vine performance benchmarking of indigenous Cypriot grape varieties Xynisteri and Maratheftiko

OENO One – Special issue

Aim: The aims of this study were to (1) formulate a baseline understanding of the performance of the indigenous Cypriot white grape Xynisteri and the red grape Maratheftiko (Vitis vinifera L.), and (2) compare these varieties to Shiraz and Sauvignon blanc grown in a Cypriot vineyard.
Materials and results: The investigation involved multiple dry grown vineyards from the Krasochoria region of Lemesos, Cyprus, during the 2017, 2018 and 2019 vintages. Vine performance measurements, including midday stem water potential, stomatal conductance, chlorophyll content, stomata density, vine phenology and vegetative and reproductive measurements, were taken at flowering, veraison and pre-harvest. Xynisteri had the greatest stomatal density, more shoots, more leaves, heavier bunches, greater yield, higher leaf water potential at harvest, and a stomatal conductance equal to Maratheftiko, but greater than that of both Shiraz and Sauvignon blanc. Maratheftiko had the longest shoots, largest shoot diameter and the greatest chlorophyll content out of all four varieties.
Conclusions: This study identified the ability of the indigenous Cypriot grape varieties, Xynisteri and Maratheftiko, to better tolerate hot and dry conditions when compared to more commonly cultivated varieties grown in the same environmental conditions.
Significance and impact of the study: The changing climate of wine growing regions worldwide is placing great pressure on the resources for sustainable viticulture. Many vineyards in hot climate zones base their businesses on European grape varieties traditionally grown in regions with abundant water resources. It is therefore necessary for the global wine industry to investigate grape varieties that are indigenous to hot climates. The eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus is one such place, with more than 10 indigenous grape varieties that grow well in a hot climate without irrigation. Consumer studies have demonstrated that wines made from these Cypriot varieties are equally, if not more, acceptable than wines made from more traditional European grapes; therefore, the potential for their use in other hot wine growing regions is promising.

Authors: Alexander W. Copper1 , Christodoulos Karaolis2 , Stefanos Koundouras2 , Savvas Savvides3 , Susan E. P. Bastian1 , Trent E. Johnson1 and Cassandra Collins1

1 School of Agriculture Food and Wine, Waite Research Institute, The University of Adelaide. PMB 1, Glen Osmond, South Australia 5064, Australia.
2 School of Agriculture, Aristotle University, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece
3 Agricultural Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture Rural development and Environment, P.O. Box 22016, 1516 Nicosia, Cyprus.

Email: alexander.copper@adelaide.edu.au

Keywords: climate change, vine performance, adaptation, stomata density, water potential, chlorophyll content

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