Since the 1980s global regime shift, grape growers have been steadily adapting to a changing climate. These adaptations have preserved the region-climate-cultivar rapports that have established the global trade of wine with lucrative economic benefits since the middle of 17th century. The advent of using fractions of crop and actual evapotranspiration replacement in vineyards with the use of supplemental irrigation has furthered the adaptation of wine grape cultivation. The shift in trellis systems, as well as pruning methods from positioned shoot systems to sprawling canopies, as well as adapting the bearing surface from head-trained, cane-pruned to cordon-trained, spur-pruned systems have also aided in the adaptation of grapevine to warmer temperatures. In warm climates, the use of shade cloth or over-head shade films not only have aided in arresting the damage of heat waves, but also identified opportunities to reduce the evapotranspiration from vineyards, reducing environmental footprint of vineyard. Our increase in knowledge on how best to understand the response of grapevine to climate change was aided with the identification of solar radiation exposure biomarker that is now used for phenotyping cultivars in their adaptability to harsh environments. Using fruit-based metrics such as sugar-flavonoid relationships were shown to be better indicators of losses in berry integrity associated with a warming climate, rather than solely focusing on region-climate-cultivar rapports. The resilience of wine grape was further enhanced by exploitation of rootstock × scion combinations that can resist untoward droughts and warm temperatures by making more resilient grapevine combinations. Our understanding of soil-plant-atmosphere continuum in the vineyard has increased within the last 50 years in such a manner that growers are able to use no-till systems with the aid of arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi inoculation with permanent cover cropping making the vineyard more resilient to droughts and heat waves. In premium wine grape regions viticulture has successfully adapted to a rapidly changing climate thus far, but berry based metrics are raising a concern that we may be approaching a tipping point.
Co-design and evaluation of spatially explicit strategies of adaptation to climate change in a Mediterranean watershed
Climate change challenges differently wine growing systems, depending on their biophysical, sociological and economic features. Therefore, there is a need to locally design and evaluate adaptation strategies combining several technical options, and considering the local opportunities and constraints (e.g. water access, wine typicity). The case study took place in a typical and heterogeneous Mediterranean vineyard of 1,500 ha in the South of France. We developed a participatory modeling approach to (1) conceptualize local climate change issues and design spatially explicit adaptation strategies with stakeholders, (2) numerically evaluate their effects on phenology, yield and irrigation needs under the high-emissions climate change scenario RCP 8.5, and (3) collectively discuss simulation results. We organized five sets of workshops, with in-between modeling phases. A process-based model was developed that allowed to evaluate the effects of six technical options (late varieties, irrigation, water saving by reducing canopy size, adjusting cover cropping, reducing density, and shading) with various distributions in the watershed, as well as vineyard relocation. Overall, we co-designed three adaptation strategies. Delay harvest strategy with late varieties showed little effects on decreasing air temperature during ripening. Water constraint limitation strategy would compensate for production losses if disruptive adaptations (e.g. reduced density) were adopted, and more land got access to irrigation. Relocation strategy would foster high premium wine production in the constrained mountainous areas where grapevine is less impacted by climate change. This research shows that a spatial distribution of technical changes gives room for adaptation to climate change, and that the collaboration with local stakeholders is a key to the identification of relevant adaptation. Further research should explore the potential of adaptation strategies based on soil quality improvement and on water stress tolerant varieties.
Late season canopy management practices to reduce sugar loading and improve color profile of Cabernet-Sauvignon grapes and wines in the high irradiance and hot conditions of California Central Valley
Global warming is accelerating grape ripening, leading to unbalanced wines from fruit with high sugar content but poor aroma and colour development. Reducing the size of the photosynthetic apparatus after veraison has been shown to delay technological ripeness in cool climates, but methods have not been tested in areas with high irradiance and temperature where fruit exposure could have disastrous effects on berry composition. In this Cabernet-Sauvignon trial, we compared the application of an antitranspirant (pinolene), to severe canopy topping and above bunch zone leaf removal, all performed at mid-ripening, with an untouched control. We monitored the vines weekly by measuring stem water potential, gas exchange, fruit zone light exposure. We sampled berries to measure berry weight, total soluble solids, pH, titratable acidity, and the anthocyanin profile. At harvest, we assessed yield components, measured carbon isotope discrimination, rated sunburn on clusters, and produced experimental wines. We submitted harvest samples to metabolomic profiling through PFP-Q Exactive MS/MS and wines to sensory analysis. Application of the antitranspirant significantly reduced stomatal conductance and assimilation rate but did not affect the stem water potential. Inversely, leaf removal and topping increased water potential but did not affect leaf gas exchange. The late topping was the only treatment able to decrease sugar content (up to 2Bx), increase titratable acidity and pH, and improve anthocyanin content because of lower degradation of di-hydroxylated forms. Late leaf removal above the bunch zone increased lightning conditions in the canopy and produced the most significant damage on fruits. Yield components were not affected. This work suggests that late-season canopy management can effectively control ripening speeds and improve grapes and wines. Still, the effect on grape exposure in a critical time must be well balanced to avoid problems with the appropriate technique.
Grapevine physiology and production are challenged by forecasted increases in temperature and water deficits. Within this scenario, photoselective overhead shade films are promising tools in warm viticulture areas to overcome climate change related factors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the vulnerability of ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ grape berry to solar radiation overexposure and optimize shade film use for berry integrity. A randomized complete block design field study was conducted across two years (2020-2021) in Oakville, Napa Valley, CA, with four shade films (D1, D3, D4, D5) differing in the percent of radiation spectra transmitted and compared to an uncovered control (C0). Integrals for gas exchange parameters and mid-day stem water potential were unaffected by the shade films in 2020 and 2021. By harvest, berries from uncovered and shaded vines did not differ in their size or primary metabolism in either year. Despite precipitation exclusion during the dormant season in the shaded treatments, yield did not differ between them and the control in either season. In 2020, total skin anthocyanins (mg/g fresh mass) in the shaded treatments was greater than C0 during berry ripening and at harvest. Conversely, flavonol concentrations in 2020 were reduced in shaded vines compared to C0. The 2020 growing season highlighted the impact of heat degradation on flavonoids. Flavonoid concentrations in 2021 increased until harvest while flavonoid degradation was apparent from veraison to harvest in 2020 across shaded and control vines. Wine analyses highlighted the importance of light spectra to modify wine composition. Wine color intensity, tonality and anthocyanin values were enhanced in D4 whereas antioxidant properties were enhanced in C0 and D5 wines. Altogether, our results highlighted the need of new approaches in warm viticulture areas given the impact that composition of light has on berry and wine quality.
Under-vine management effects on grapevine production, soil properties and plant communities in South Australia
Under-vine (UV) management has traditionally consisted of synthetic herbicide use to limit competition between weeds and grapevines. With growing global interest towards non-synthetic chemical use, this study aimed to capture the effects of alternative UV management at two commercial Shiraz vineyards in South Australia, where the sole management variables were UV management since 2016. In adjacent treatment blocks, cultivation (CU) was compared to spontaneous vegetation (SV) in McLaren Vale (MV), and herbicide was compared to SV in Eden Valley (EV). Soil water infiltration rates were slower and grapevine stem water potential was lower in CU compared to SV in MV, with the latter having a plant community dominated by soursob (Oxalis pes-caprae) during winter; while in EV, there was little separation between the treatments. Yields were affected at both sites, with SV being higher in MV and HE being higher in EV. In MV, the only effect on grape must was a lower 13C:12C isotope ratio in CU, indicating greater grapevine water stress. In the grape must at EV, SV had higher total soluble solids, total phenolics, anthocyanins, and yeast available nitrogen; and lower pH and titratable acidity. Pruning weights were not affected by the treatments in MV, while they were higher in HE at EV. Assessments revealed that the differing soil types at the two sites were likely the main determinants of the opposing production outcomes associated with UV management. In the silty loam soil of MV, the higher yields in SV were likely due to more plant-available water, as a potential result of the continuous soil bio-pores formed by winter UV vegetation. Conversely, in the loamy sand soils of EV with a lower cation exchange capacity, the lower yields and pruning weights in SV suggest the UV vegetation competed significantly with the grapevines for available water and nutrients.
Permanent cover cropping with reduced tillage increased resiliency of wine grape vineyards to climate change
Majority of California’s vineyards rely on supplemental irrigation to overcome abiotic stressors. In the context of climate change, increases in growing season temperatures and crop evapotranspiration pose a risk to adaptation of viticulture to climate change. Vineyard cover crops may mitigate soil erosion and preserve water resources; but there is a lack of information on how they contribute to vineyard resiliency under tillage systems. The aim of this study was to identify the optimum combination of cover crop sand tillage without adversely affecting productivity while preserving plant water status. Two experiments in two contrasting climatic regions were conducted with two cover crops, including a permanent short stature grass (P. bulbosa hybrid), barley (Hordeum spp), and resident vegetation under till vs. no-till systems in a Ruby Cabernet (V. vinifera spp.) (Fresno) and a Cabernet Sauvingon (Napa) vineyard. Results indicated that permanent grass under no-till preserved plant available water until E-L stage 17. Consequently, net carbon assimilation of the permanent grass under no-till system was enhanced compared to those with barley and resident vegetation. On the other hand, the barley under no-till system reduced grapevine net carbon assimilation during berry ripening that led to lower content of nonstructural carbohydrates in shoots at dormancy. Components of yield and berry composition including flavonoid profile at either site were not adversely affected by factors studied. Switching to a permanent cover crop under a no-till system also provided a 9% and 3% benefit in cultural practices costs in Fresno and Napa, respectively. The results of this work provides fundamental information to growers in preserving resiliency of vineyard systems in hot and warm climate regions under context of climate change.
Effect of partial net shading on the temperature and radiation in the grapevine canopy, consequences on the grape quality of cv. Gros Manseng in PDO Pacherenc-du-vic-Bilh
As elsewhere, southwestern France vineyards face more recurrent summer heat waves these last years. Among the possibilities of adaptation to this climate changing parameter, the use of net shading is a technique that allow for limiting canopy exposure to radiations. In this trial, we tested net shading installed on one face of the canopy, on a north-south row-oriented plot of cv. Gros Manseng trained on VSP system in the PDO Pacherenc-du-Vic-Bilh. The purpose was to characterize the effects on the ambient canopy temperatures and radiations during the season and to observe the consequences on the composition of grapes and wines. Two sorts of net were used with two levels of obstruction (50% and 75%) of the photosynthesis active radiation (PAR). They have been installed on the west side of the canopy and compared to a netless control. Temperature and PAR sensors registered hourly data during the season. On specific summer day (hot and sunny) manual measurements took also place on bunches (temperature) and in different spots of the canopy (PAR). The results showed that, on clear days, the radiation is lowered by the shade nets respecting the supplier criteria. The effects on the ambient canopy temperature were inconstant on this plot when we observed the data from the global period of shading between fruit set and harvest. However, during hot days (>30°C), the temperature in the canopy was reduced during afternoon and the temperature of the bunch surface was reduced as well comparing to the control. A decrease of the maturity parameters of the berries, sugar and acidity, was also observed. Concerning the wine aromatic potential, no differences clearly appeared.
Better understand the soil wet bulb formation with subsurface or aerial drip irrigation in viticulture
The gradual change in rainfall patterns experienced in the south of France vineyards, especially around the Mediterranean sea, means that the vines are increasingly subject to summer drought. The winegrowers developped the use of irrigation techniques to ensure the maintenance of competitive yields in the production of wines under Protected Geographical Indication label. In practice, drip irrigation pipes can be installed above the ground or buried into the soil as well as at different distances from the vine row. The objective of this study was to examine the profiles of the wet bulbs of the soil obtained from two drip irrigation systems : aerial drip located under the vine row and subsurface drip placed in the middle of the inter-row. This experiment took place over two consecutive seasons (2020-2021) on a 3.4 ha Viognier plot in the Mediterranean region (PGI Oc, France) on sandy clay soil. The annual rainfalls were less than 400 mm. Soil water content probes were installed at different depths (20 – 40 – 60 – 80 cm) and at different lateralities from the vine row (30 – 60 – 90 – 120 cm) to control the formation of the soil wet bulb during irrigation. The mapping and the analysis of the data allowed a better understanding and differentiation of the water percolation when irrigating with subsurface or aerial drip. For the same amount of water and without differences of vine water status, it is shown that in a subsurface drip irrigation situation, the size of the wet bulb formed is larger than in aerial drip irrigation system.
Climate change constitutes an enormous challenge for humankind and for all human activities, viticulture not being an exception. Long-term strategic changes are probably needed the most, but growers also need to deal with short-term changes: summers that are getting progressively warmer, earlier harvest dates and higher pH in musts and wines. In the last 10-15 years, a relevant corpus of research is being developed worldwide in order to evaluate to which extent extreme canopy management operations, aimed at reducing leaf area and, thus, limiting the source to sink ratio, could be useful to delay ripening. Although extreme canopy management can result in relevant delays in harvest dates, longer term studies, as well as detailed analysis of their implications on carbohydrate reserves, bud fertility and future yield are desirable before these practices can be recommended.
When to initiate irrigation is a critical annual management decision that has cascading effects on grapevine productivity and wine quality in the context of climate change. A multi-site trial was begun in 2021 to optimize irrigation initiation timing using midday stem water potential (ψstem) thresholds characterized as departures from non-stressed baseline ψstemvalues (Δψstem). Plant material, vine and row spacing, and trellising systems were concomitant among sites, while vine age, soil type, and pruning systems varied. Five target Δψstem thresholds were arranged in an RCBD and replicated eight times at each site: 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, and 1.0 MPa (T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5, respectively). When thresholds were reached, plots were irrigated weekly at 70% ETc. Yield components and berry composition were quantified at harvest. To better generalize inferences across sites, data were analyzed by ANOVA using a mixed model including site as a random factor. Across sites, irrigation was initiated at Δψstem = 0.24, 0.50, 0.65, 0.93, and 0.98 MPa for T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5, respectively. Consistent significant negative linear trends were found for several key yield and berry composition variables. Yield decreased by 12.9, 15.9, 19.5, and 27.4% for T2, T3, T4, and T5, respectively, compared to T1 (p < 0.0001) across sites that were driven by similarly linear reductions in berry weight (p < 0.0001). Comparatively, berry composition varied little among treatments. Juice total soluble solids decreased linearly from T1 to T5 – though only ranged 0.9 Brix (p = 0.012). Because producers are paid by the ton, and contracts simply stipulate a target maturity level, first-year results suggest that there is no economic incentive to induce moderate water deficits before irrigation initiation, regardless of vineyard site. Subsequent years will further elucidate the carryover effects of delaying irrigation initiation on productivity over the long term.
As an essential element for grapevine development and yield, nitrogen is also involved in the winemaking process and largely affects wine composition. Grape must amino nitrogen deficiency affects the alcoholic fermentation kinetics and alters the development of wine aroma precursors. It is therefore essential to control and optimize nitrogen use efficiency by the plant to guarantee suitable grape nitrogen composition at harvest. Understanding the impact of environmental conditions and cultural practices on the plant nitrogen metabolism would allow us to better orientate our technical choices with the objective of quality and sustainability (less inputs, higher efficiency). This trial focuses on the impact of crop limitation – that is a common practice in European viticulture – on nitrogen distribution in the plant and particularly on grape nitrogen composition. A wide gradient of crop load was set up in a homogeneous plot of Chasselas (Vitis vinifera) in the experimental vineyard of Agroscope, Switzerland. Dry weight and nitrogen dynamics were monitored in the roots, trunk, canopy and grapes, during two consecutive years, using a 15N-labeling method. Grape amino nitrogen content was assessed in both years, at veraison and at harvest. The close relationship between fruits and roots in the maintenance of plant nitrogen balance was highlighted. Interestingly, grape nitrogen concentration remained unchanged regardless of crop load to the detriment of the growth and nitrogen content of the roots. Meanwhile, the size and the nitrogen concentration of the canopy were not affected. Leaf gas exchange rates were reduced in response to lower yield conditions, reducing carbon and nitrogen assimilation and increasing intrinsic water use efficiency. The must amino nitrogen profiles could be discriminated as a function of crop load. These findings demonstrate the impact of plant balance on grape nitrogen composition and contribute to the improvement of predictive models and sustainable cultural practices in perennial crops.
The impact of leaf canopy management on eco-physiology, wood chemical properties and microbial communities in root, trunk and cordon of Riesling grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.)
In the last decades, climate change required already adaptation of vineyard management. Increase in temperature and unexpected weather events cause changes in all phenological stages requiring new management tools. For example, defoliation can be a useful tool to reduce the sugar content in the berries creating differences in the wine profiles. In a ten-year field experiment using Riesling (Vitis vinifera L, planted 1986, Geisenheim, Germany), various mechanical defoliation strategies and different intensities were trialed until 2016 before the vineyard was uprooted. Wood was sampled from the plant compartments root, trunk, cordon and shoot for analyses of physicochemical properties (e.g. lignin and element content, pH, diameter), nonstructural carbohydrates and the microbial communities. The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of reduced canopy leaf area on the sink-source allocation into different compartments and potential changes of the fungal and prokaryotic wood-inhabiting community using a metabarcoding approach. Severe summer pruning (SSP) of the canopy and mechanical defoliation (MDC) above the bunch zone decreased the leaf area by 50% compared to control (C). SSP reduced the photosynthetic capacity, which resulted in an altered source-sink allocation and carbohydrate storage. With lower leaf area, less carbohydrates are allocated. This for example resulted in a decreased trunk diameter. Further, it affected the composition of the grapevine wood microbiota. SSP and MDC management changed significantly the prokaryotic community composition in wood of the root samples, but had no effect in other compartments. In general, this study found strong compartment and less management effects of the microbial community composition and associated physicochemical properties. The highest microbial diversities were identified in the wood of the trunk, and several species were recorded the first time in grapevine.