Water deficit differentially impacts the performances and the accumulation of grape metabolites of new varieties tolerant to fungi
The use of resistant varieties is a long-term but promising solution to reduce chemical input in viticulture. Several important breeding programs in Europe and abroad are now releasing a range of new hybrids performing well regarding fungi susceptibility and producing good quality wines. Unfortunately, insufficient attention is paid by the breeders to the adaptation of these varieties to climatic changes, notably to the increased climatic demand and water deficit (WD). Thus, prior to the adoption of such varieties by the wine industry in Mediterranean regions, there is a need to consider their suitability to WD. This study aimed to characterize the different drought-strategies adopted by 6 new resistant varieties selected by INRAE in comparison to Syrah. To allow the assessment of long-term impacts of WD, field-grown vines were exposed to contrasted WD from 2018 to 2021 under a semi-arid Mediterranean climate. A gradient of WD was applied in the field and controlled through plant measurements at the single plant level. Grape development was non-destructively monitored to determine the arrest of berry phloem unloading. The impacts of WD on berry composition, including water, primary metabolites (sugars, organic acids), secondary metabolites (anthocyanins, thiols precursors) and main cations contents, were assessed at this specific stage. Results showed different varietal responses during the year and inter-annual acclimation in terms of plant water use efficiency, biomass accumulation, as well as yield components and berry composition. WD differentially reduced the accumulation of primary metabolites at plant and berry levels, but it little changed their concentrations in the fruits at the ripe stage. Moreover, WD differentially impacted the accumulation of secondary metabolites and major cations between the varieties. In the talk, we’ll present the main results regarding the WD impacts on fruit metabolites and enlarge the reflection about the practical assessment of the grapevine acclimation to WD.