Vintage by vine interactions most strongly influence Pinot noir grape and wine composition in New Zealand

OENO One – Special issue

Vine genetics, fruit maturity, region and vineyard are perceived as factors that strongly influence Pinot noir grape and wine composition. Our study aims to understand the relationship between grape (and ultimately wine) composition and the physical appearance and performance characteristics of a vine (i.e. vine ideotype). Our experimental approach controlled these variables by studying within-block differences in vine performance across multiple seasons and vineyards. Grapes were sourced at commercial harvest from 20 single vines from 12 vineyard sites in three Pinot noir growing regions (Central Otago, Martinborough and Marlborough) of New Zealand.
Across three vintages yields ranged from 0.1 kg to 6.3 kg per metre, but there was no general relationship between yield and berry soluble solids. On a vine by vine basis normalised yields did not correlate among seasons. Berry extract colour measures were, on average, three-fold higher in 2019 than in 2018.
Principal Component Analysis has indicated that vintage dominated berry composition effects that might otherwise be associated with yield per vine, region and vineyard. The extent of the variation in performance of the same vines between seasons largely excludes factors that are stable between seasons as primary causes. Changes in management of the same vine from year to year appeared the most likely contributors to variation. We have derived highly significant negative linear relationships between vine yield class and the frequency of vines that were within a benchmark specification established for icon vines, providing evidence of the quality risk associated with higher yield. The results also indicate that a proportion of vines meet the benchmark specification at higher yields. From results to date we can further our research confident in the knowledge that factors such as vine yield, region or vineyard are, in themselves, unlikely to be the principal drivers of major differences in Pinot noir grape and wine composition.

Authors: Damian Martin1*, Franzi Grab1 , Claire Grose1 , Lily Stuart1 , Claire Scofield2 , Andrew McLachlan3 and Tanya Rutan4

1 The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Marlborough
2 The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Clyde
2 The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Palmerston North
4 Bragato Research Institute, Marlborough

Email: damian.martin@plantandfood.co.nz

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