Climate change is a major challenge in wine production. The IPCC (2014) projected that by the end of the 21st century average temperatures will increase by 1-3.7°C. Consequently, harvest dates could advance by approximately 30 days. A general observed trend is the increase in berry sugar content and decrease in organic acids, posing challenges for winegrowers. Variability among cultivars is a precious resource to adapt viticulture to a changing environment.
Climate change scenarios suggest an increase in temperatures and an intensification of summer drought. Measuring seasonal plant water status is an essential step in choosing appropriate adaptations to ensure yields and quality of agricultural produce. The water status of grapevines is known to be a key factor for yield, maturity of grapes and wine quality. Several techniques exist to measure the water status of soil and plants, but stem water potential proved to be a simple and precise tool for different plant species.
Can soil water content be used as a predictor of predawn leaf water potential for deficit irrigation scheduling? A case study at Alentejo wine region
Water and heat stress impose new challenges to irrigation management in the Mediterranean areas. This reality has a major impact on the vineyard ecosystem, particularly on the scarce water resources of the Alentejo region (South Portugal). To mitigate this problem, irrigation management should focus on optimizing yield and fruit quality per volume of water applied. This work aims to discuss the use of predawn leaf water potential and soil water status relationships as a decision tool for irrigation management taking as basis data from a field trial where two deficit irrigation strategies were compared.