Differential responses of red and white grape cultivars trained to a single trellis system – the VSP
Commercial grape production relies on training grapevine cultivars onto a variety of trellis systems. Training allows for well-lit leaves and clusters, maximizing fruit quality in addition to facilitating cultivation, harvesting, and diseases control. Although grapevines can be trained onto an infinite variety of trellis systems, most red and white cultivars are trained to the standard VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioning) system. However, red and white cultivars respond differently to VSP in fruit composition and growth characteristics, which are yet to be fully understood. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the influence of the VSP trellis system on fruit composition of three red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, and three white, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer cultivars grown under uniform growing conditions in the same vineyard. All cultivars were monitored for maturity and harvested at their physiologically maximum possible sugar concentration to compare various fruit quality attributes such as Brix, pH, TA, malic and tartaric acids, glucose and fructose, potassium, YAN, and phenolic compounds including total anthocyanins, anthocyanin profile, and tannins. A distinct pattern in fruit composition was observed in each cultivar. In regards to growth characteristics, Syrah grew vigorously with the highest cluster weight. Although all cultivars developed pyriform seeds, the seed size and weight varied among all cultivars. Also varied were mesocarp cell viability, brush morphology, and cane structure. This knowledge of the canopy architectural characteristics assessed by the widely employed fruit compositional attributes and growth characteristics will aid the growers in better management of the vines in varied situations.