Climate change – variety change?


In Franconia, the northern part of Bavaria in Germany, climate change, visible in earlier bud break, advanced flowering and earlier grape maturity, leads to a decrease of traditionally cultivated early ripening aromatic white wine varieties as Mueller-Thurgau (30 % of the wine growing area) and Bacchus (12 %). With the predicted rise of temperature in all European wine regions the conditions for white wine grape varieties will decline and the grapes themselves will lose a part of their aromatic and fruity expression. Variety change towards the cultivation of later ripening white wine varieties is a very expensive and long-term process, and must be accompanied by special marketing efforts.
In the “cool climate” region Franconia, adapted methods are required for the longer use of traditionally grown aromatic early ripening varieties. Studies about maturity management of the early ripening variety Mueller-Thurgau show first results. Cordon pruning compared with traditional spur pruned training system, leads in dependence of botrytis infection to a maturity delay of 4 up to 6 days. The new natural growth training system, also called “minimal pruning”, results in a maturity delay of 8 up to 12 days in the same varieties.
Later grape harvest times economize energy for must cooling and fermentation control. Lower night temperatures can better conserve the fresh and fruity flavours of these aromatic grapes. The consequences of maturity retardation effects on must and wine quality will be studied.


Publication date: November 23, 2021

Issue: Terroir 2010

Type: Article


Arnold Schwab, Ulrike Maaß

Bavarian State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture, An der Steige 15, D-97332 Veitshöchheim

Contact the author


Climate change, Franconia, earlier harvest time, variety change, canopy management


IVES Conference Series | Terroir 2010


Related articles…

Physiological and growth reaction of Shiraz/101-14 Mgt to row orientation and soil water status

Advanced knowledge on grapevine row orientation is required to improve establishment, management and outcomes of vineyards on terroirs with different environmental conditions (climate, soil, topography) and in view of a future change to more extreme climatic conditions. The purpose of this study was to determine the combined effect of row orientation, plant water status and ripeness level on the physiological and viticultural reaction of Shiraz/101-14 Mgt.

Effects of mechanical leafing and deficit irrigation on Cabernet Sauvignon grown in warm climate of California

San Joaquin Valley accounts for 40% of wine grape acreage and produces 70% of wine grape in California. Fruit quality is one of most important factors which impact the economical sustainability of farming wine grapes in this region. Due to the recent drought and expected labor cost increase, the wine industry is thrilled to understand how to improve fruit quality while maintaining the yield with less water and labor input. The present study aims to study the interactive effects of mechanical leafing and deficit irrigation on yield and berry compositions of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in warm climate of California.

The effects of cane girdling on berry texture properties and the concentration of some aroma compounds in three table grape cultivars

The marketability of the table grapes is highly influenced by the consumer demand; therefore the market value of the table grapes is mainly characterized by its berry size, colour, taste and texture. Girdling could cause accumulation of several components in plants above the ringing of the phloem including clusters and resulting improved maturity. The aim of the experiments was to examine the effect of girdling on berry texture characteristics and aroma concentration.

Application of a fluorescence-based method to evaluate the ripening process and quality of Pinot Blanc grape

The chemical composition of grape berries at harvest is one of the most important factors that should be considered to produce high quality wines. Among the different chemical classes which characterize the grape juice, the polyphenolic compound, such as flavonoids, contribute to the final taste and color of wines. Recently, an innovative non-destructive method, based on chlorophyll fluorescence, was developed to estimate the phenolic maturity of red grape varieties through the evaluation of anthocyanins accumulated in the berry skin. To date, only few data are available about the application of this method on white grape varieties.

Different yield regulation strategies in semi-minimal-pruned hedge (SMPH) and impact on bunch architecture

Yields in the novel viticulture training system Semi-Minimal-Pruned Hedge (SMPH) are generally higher compared to the traditional Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP). Excessive yields have a negative impact on the vine and wine quality, which can result in substantial losses in yield in subsequent vintages (alternate bearing) or penalties in fruit quality. Therefore yield regulation is essential. The bunch architecture in SMPH differs from VSP. Generally there is a higher amount but smaller bunches with lower single berry weights in SMPH compared to VSP.