Research: Grapevine Physiology

Phenology, yield components, development, water relations


Bertamini, M., G. Ponchia, et al. (1996). “Environmental effects on yield, growth and grape composition of Sauvignon Blanc in alpine viticulture of Trentino (N.E. Italy).” Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Cool Climate Viticulture and Enology: I-16-I-22.

The experiments were conducted in 7 environments representative of the different conditions in Trentino, Italy, and 7 clones (INRA 108, 316, 161; ENTAV 2452, 376, 377; and VCR3) of Sauvignon Blanc were investigated. ENTAV 377 and VCR3 were grafted on to SO4 rootstock, and the other clones were grafted on to 3309C, 41B and SO4 rootstocks, resulting in 17 clone/rootstock combinations in each vineyard. Plants were spaced 2.8 x 0.8 m apart, were trained on one-armed trellises and were pruned to 2 canes with 8 buds each. Increasing altitude significantly reduced cluster weights, shoot fertility, soluble solids and yields, and increased titratable acidity and malic acid concentrations. At an altitude of 400-600 m, in sites with clay-loam soils on plateaus, cluster weights were reduced compared with clay-loam sites with high slope and southerly exposure. The suitable conditions for Sauvignon Blanc production in Trentino are discussed. (Language: English)


Calame, F., M. Rochaix, et al. (1977). “Phenological observations and bioclimatic measurements at several Valais viticultural sites at different altitudes in order to demarcate the viticultural area.” Bulletin de l’ OIV 50(559): 601-616.

The climate, vine phenological stages and must quality of a hillside vineyard, at between 500 and 900 m altitude, were studied in the Conthey region of Valais between 1973 and 1976. The average maximum temperatures were found to fall by 1 deg C/100 m but the average minimum temperatures were 0.7 deg higher half-way up the vineyard than in the valley. Delays of 7-15 days were observed between vine phenological stages at the foot and at the top of the slope. This delay in growth, more marked for cv. Pinot than for Chasselas, was reflected in lower must Oechsle values and a greater total acidity with rising altitude. (Language: French)


Failla, O., L. Mariani, et al. (2004). “Spatial distribution of solar radiation and its effects on vine phenology and grape ripening in an alpine environment.” American Journal of Enology and Viticulture; 2004; 55(2): 55(2).

Climate, soil, and vineyard performance were characterized in the northern Italian alpine valley of Valtellina, Italy to develop an ecophysiological model for zoning viticultural aptitude of the district. Based on a representative sample of 54 small, steep-sloped terraced vineyards planted with the late-ripening red cv. Nebbiolo, the model included 3- year (1998 to 2000) data sets for phenology, maturity curves, yield, vigour, and grape assays, with appropriate indices to manage these sets. Soils were characterized by pedological description and climate by annual values of potential photosynthetically active radiation (PPAR) and estimated thermal fields expressed as growing degree days (GDD) using base 10 degrees C. PPAR ranged from 2700 to 3200 MJm-2year-1 and GDD ranged from 1100 to 1800. Vineyards showed a 12-day range in phenological timing, with early sites having the highest technological maturity and medium sites having the highest phenolic maturity. Elevation and PPAR were the main environmental factors affecting vine budbreak and bloom date; veraison was also affected by crop load and its interaction with PPAR availability. Technological maturity was affected by elevation; phenolic maturity by crop load, PPAR, and its interaction with crop load and elevation. The highest phenolic maturity was recorded in low-cropping vineyards at low elevation and PPAR. (Language: English)


Flexas, J., M. Badger, et al. (1999). “Analysis of the relative increase in photosynthetic O2 uptake when photosynthesis in grapevine leaves is inhibited following low night temperatures and/or water stress.” Plant Physiology; Oct 1999; 121(2): 675 684 121(2): 675-684.

We found similarities between the effects of low night temperatures (5 degrees C-10 degrees C) and slowly imposedwater stress on photosynthesis in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) leaves. Exposure of plants growing outdoors to successive chilling nights caused light- and CO2-saturated photosynthetic O2 evolution to decline to zero within 5 d. Plants recovered after four warm nights. These photosynthetic responses were confirmed in potted plants, even when roots were heated. The inhibitory effects of chilling were greater after a period of illumination, probably because transpiration induced higher water deficit. Stomatal closure only accounted for part of the inhibition of photosynthesis. Fluorescence measurements showed no evidence of photoinhibition, but nonphotochemical quenching increased in stressed plants. The most characteristic response to both stresses was an increase in the ratio of electron transport to net O2 evolution, even at high external CO2 concentrations. Oxygen isotope exchange revealed that this imbalance was due to increased O2 uptake, which probably has two components: photorespiration and the Mehler reaction. Chilling- and drought-induced water stress enhanced both O2 uptake processes, and both processes maintained relatively high rates of electron flow as CO2 exchange approached zero in stressed leaves. Presumably, high electron transport associated with O2 uptake processes also maintained a high delta pH, thus affording photoprotection. (Language: English)


Fogliani, G., A. Tammaccaro, et al. (1978). “Experimental research on frost damage to grapevines. Studies in Abruzzo vineyards.” Atti Accademia Italiana della Vite e del Vino, Siena(publ 1979): 201-217.

Grapevines, mostly the cv. Montepulciano, growing on 3 farms in the province of Aguila were examined in 1977 after damage had been caused by mid-April night frosts and daytime high temperatures. Symptoms and effects of the damage are described and illustrated. The number of damaged buds depended on their position, vineyard altitude and aspect, and vine training form. The number of latent buds induced to form replacement shoots depended on cv., vine age, microclimate and training, and the fruit yield from these buds was much influenced by pruning. The sugar content of fruit from latent buds was normal but acidity was high because of the later start. (Language: Italian)


Hemborg, A. M. and P. S. Karlsson (1998). “Altitudinal variation in size effects on plant reproductive effort and somatic costs of reproduction.” Ecoscience; 1998; 5(4): 517 525 5(4): 517-525.

Effects of plant size and altitude on reproductive effort (RE) and somatic costs of reproduction were examined for Ranunculus acris L. and Trollius europaeus L. (Ranunculaceae) in subarctic Swedish Lapland. We estimated investment and cost during one reproductive season in terms of biomass (indexed B), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P). Above the tree line, plants of both species had smaller size, and thus, smaller resource pools than at lower altitudes. For Ranunculus, reproductive effort did not depend on plant size. In terms of biomass, RE increased, while REV decreased, with altitude. For Trollius at lower altitudes, REB and REP varied inversely with size and altitude. However, above the tree line, REB and REP showed no relationship with size. In terms of nitrogen, RE decreased with size for all populations. Somatic costs of reproduction generally did not vary with plant size and/or altitude in a similar manner as RE. Only in terms of P for Ranunculus, somatic costs varied proportionally with reproductive effort. For plants of all sizes, somatic costs were often lower as compared to RE. Different effects of size and altitude on RE may result from varied environmental and morphological constraints along the altitudinal gradient. However, patterns of variation in RE were not reflected in the variation in somatic costs. We found an overall lack of conformity between reproductive effort and somatic costs of reproduction. (Language: English)


Kaziev, R. A. and S. A. Kurbanov (1985). “Physiological-biological characteristics of grapes raised in southern Dagestan as function of altitude.” Soviet agricultural sciences 1985(12): 17-19.

The effect of microphytoclimatic conditions on grape productivity was studied at various altitudes above sea level in the southern Dagestan ASSR in 1982-1984. The data obtained agree with the data from the literature on a close correlation between transpiration, soil moisture content and other ecological factors. The greatest yield was observed in a vineyard at 50 m above the sea level where plant photosynthesis was enhanced. The piedmont zone of the southern Dagestan ASR is promising for the development of unirrigated viticulture. (Language: English)


Korner, C., P. Bannister, et al. (1986). “Altitudinal variation in stomatal conductance, nitrogen content and leaf anatomy in different plant life forms in New Zealand.” Oecologia; 1986; 69(4): 577 588 69(4): 577-588.

Max. leaf diffusive conductance (g), leaf N content (LN), stomatal density (n) and distribution, and area (A), thickness (d) and specific area (SLA) of leaves were studied in 3 different plant life forms over their full altitudinal range in the Southern Alps: trees, represented by Nothofagus menziesii and Griselinia littoralis (up to 1200 m); ericaceous dwarf shrubs (up to 1700 m); and herbaceous Ranunculaceae (up to 2500 m). In all 3 life forms g, LN and n increased with alt., while SLA and A decreased. Recent investigations have found similar trends in other mountains in the temperate zone, but the changes are larger in New Zealand than elsewhere. Herbs show the greatest differences, followed by shrubs and then trees. It is concluded that g is dependent on light availability rather than water supply, whereas SLA and related structural features appear to be controlled by temp., as they show similar altitudinal changes under different light and moisture gradients. The higher leaf N content found at high alt. in all 3 life forms suggests that metabolic activity of mature leaves is not restricted by low N supply at high alt. (Language: English)


Moutinho-Pereira, J. M., N. Magalhaes, et al. (2001). “Physiological and agronomic behaviour of cv. Touriga Nacional in a “slope vineyard” at the Demarcated Douro Region.” Ciencia e Tecnica Vitivinicola 16(2): 49-63.

The aim of this study was to compare the vegetative and viticultural behaviour of grapevines planted on the upper and lower edges of a sloped vineyard. The grapevines transplanted in the lower portion of the plot had better soil water content than those in the upper portion during the summer season, which enhanced leaf photosynthesis and minimized foliar senescence during ripening. The grapevines in the upper portion of the plot had high maturation index, whereas production and Ravaz index was low. (Language: Portuguese)


Murada, G., S. Mancini, et al. (2004). “Performance and response of Nebbiolo in Valtellina.” Informatore Agrario 60(1): 45-49.

The results of a survey of the vine Nebbiolo in Valtellina, an Alpine valley in north Lombardy running east-west, are summarised. Bud fertility was generally low and a variation of some 12 days was observed in the time of flowering. Ripening varied considerable between early and late sites, the latter being harvested before the berries were fully mature. The variations were correlated with the altitude and potential photosynthetically active radiation (PPAR) and on this basis a subdivision into 3 altitude zones was tested: <400 m, 400-500 m and >500 m. Details are shown in tables and two insets outline the climate and zonation and the topology and soils of the vineyard zones. (Language: Italian)


Nevryanskaya, A. D., G. V. Shishkanu, et al. (1988). “The effect of growing conditions and mineral nutrition on the photosynthetic productivity of grapevines on a slope.” Vliyanie Udobrenii na Obmen Veshchestv i Produktivnost’ Rastenii.

Dry mass accumulation in different plant parts, vineyard productivity and DM increment per vine were greater in the middle part of the slope than in the upper part. Photosynthetic productivity and specific surface density of the leaves were affected only slightly by growing conditions on the slope. Yield was higher in the middle part and quality was better in the upper part. Basal mineral fertilizers increased DM accumulation and yields in all parts of the slope, and the possibility of regulating vine productivity by differential fertilizer application is mentioned. (Language: Russian)


Pandeliev, S., D. Braikov, et al. (1983). “Initiation time and differentiation degree of inflorescences in buds of variety Bolgar depending on the altitude of its location on the northern slope of the Rhodope Mountains.” Nauchni trudove Vissh selskostopanski institut “Vasil Kolarov” 28(2): 11-24.

No abstract available. (Language: Bulgarian)


Ponchia, G., M. Bertamini, et al. (2002). “Environmental effects on the growth, yield, grape composition and wine quality of Chardonnay in Trentino area.” Italus Hortus 9(2): 3-8.

The performance of grape cv. Chardonnay was studied in 14 vineyards of varying altitude (between 300 ad 730 m) in Trentino, Italy. Plant growth significantly varied among the vineyards. Highly significant variation was also observed for the number of shoots, weight of pruned wood per vine, number and weight of clusters, and yield per vine. Except for one vineyard, grape production and pruning wood ratio showed low variability. With the increase in altitude, the soluble solids content of the must was greatly reduced, but the titratable acidity, pH and organoleptic characteristics of the wine were not significantly affected. Generally, Chardonnay appeared to be adapted to various environmental conditions. (Language: Italian)


Ramos, M. C. (2006). “Soil water content and yield variability in vineyards of Mediterranean northeastern Spain affected by mechanization and climate variability.” Hydrological Processes 20(11): 2271-2283.

The objective of this paper was to analyse the combined influence of the Mediterranean climate variability (particularly the irregular rainfall distribution throughout the year) and the land transformations carried out in vineyards of northeastern Spain on soil water content evolution and its influence on grape production. The study was carried out in a commercial vineyard located in the Anoia-Alt Penedes region (Barcelona province, northeastern Spain), which was prepared for mechanization with important land transformations. Two plots were selected for the study: one with low degree of transformation of the soil profile, representing a non-disturbed situation, and the second one in which more than 3 m were cut in the upper part of the plot and filled in the lower part, representing the disturbed situation. Soil water content was evaluated at three positions along the slope in each plot and at three depths (0-20, 20-40, 40-60 cm) during the period 1999-2001, years with different rainfall characteristics, including extreme events and long dry periods. Rainfall was recorded in the experimental field using a pluviometer linked to a data-logger. Runoff rates and yield were evaluated at the same positions. For the same annual rainfall, the season of the year in which rainfall is recorded and its intensity are critical for water availability for crops. Soil water content varies within the plot and is related to the soil characteristics existing at the different positions of the landscape. The differences in soil depth created by soil movements in the field mechanization give rise to significant yield reductions (up to 50%) between deeper and shallow areas. In addition, for the same annual rainfall, water availability for crops depends on its distribution over the year, particularly in soils with low water-storage capacity. The yield was strongly affected in years with dry or very dry winters. (Language: English)


Rapcha, M. P., M. F. Kisil, et al. (2004). “Effect of vineyard location on productivity.” Sadovodstvo i Vinogradarstvo 2004(3): 19-21.

Effect of altitude, elevation, slope and orientation of a vineyard on productivity and grape sugar content was studied in Moldova. Data on effect of location parameters on the variables studied are tabulated. Statistical models describing relationships between the parameters and variables are presented. Variable results were obtained for different grape cultivars and combination of parameters. The authors state that orientation of a vineyard is responsible for 61% of variation in productivity and sugar content. (Language: Russian)


Schubert, A., C. Lovisolo, et al. (2004). “Territorial and bioclimatic description of the area of the Moscato docg in Piedmont.” Informatore-Agrario 60(46): 63-68.

Based on data (1997-2001) from 16 automatic weather stations in the area producing Moscato d’Asti docg wine and on phenological data from 30 Moscato Bianco vineyards in the same area, and combining these with geo-morphological data, such as site altitude and orientation, a series of digital maps on a scale of 1:25 000 were produced. These showed temperature range, date of sprouting, flowering and fruit set, as well as the alcohol potential and total acidity of the must. Linear correlations were analysed showing significant relationships between these variables. Geo-morphological and bio-climatic variability were shown to have a greater effect than geology and soil factors on grape quality. The maps provide a valuable indication of the optimal time for grape harvest at the different sites. They are useful tools for planning vineyard management. (Language: Italian)


Shi, Z., S. Liu, et al. (2006). “Altitudinal variation in photosynthetic capacity, diffusional conductance and (Se superscript 13(BC of butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) plants growing at high elevations.” Physiologia plantarum; 2006 Dec; 128(4): 722 731 128(4): 722-731.

In this study, we have examined several physiological, biochemical and morphological features of Buddleja davidii plants growing at 1300 m above sea level (a.s.l.) and 3400 m a.s.l., respectively, to identify coordinated changes in leaf properties in response to reduced CO subscript 2(B partial pressure (Pa). Our results confirmed previous findings that foliar (Se superscript 13(BC, photosynthetic capacity and foliar N concentration on a leaf area basis increased, whereas stomatal conductance (gs) decreased with elevation. The net CO subscript 2(B assimilation rate (Amax), maximum rate of electron transport (Jmax) and respiration increased significantly with elevation, although no differences were found in carboxylation efficiency of Rubisco (Vcmax). Consequently, also the Jmax to Vcmax ratio was significantly increased by elevation, indicating that the functional balance between Ribulose-1,5-biphosphate (RuBP) consumption and RuBP regeneration changes as elevation increases. Our results also indicated a homeostatic response of CO subscript 2(B transfer conductance inside the leaf (mesophyll conductance, gm) to increasing elevation. In fact, with elevation, gm also increased compensating for the strong decrease in gs and, thus, in the Pi (intercellular partial pressure of CO subscript 2(B) to Pa ratio, leading to similar chloroplast partial pressure of CO subscript 2(B (Pc) to Pa ratio at different elevations. Because there were no differences in Vcmax, also A measured at similar PPFD and leaf temperature did not differ statistically with elevation. As a consequence, a clear relationship was found between A and gm, and between A and the sum of gs and gm. These data suggest that the higher dry mass (Se superscript 13(BC of leaves at the higher elevation, indicative of lower long-term Pc/Pa ratio, cannot be attributed to changes either in diffusional resistances or in carboxylation efficiency. We speculate that because temperature significantly decreases as the elevation increases, it dramatically affects CO subscript 2(B diffusion and hence Pc/Pa and, consequently, is the primary factor influencing superscript 13(BC discrimination at high elevation. (Language: English)


Stoychev, S. (2001). “Soil conditions, moisture stocks and grape-vine yields in the region of Perushtitsa.” Pochvoznanie, Agrokhimiya i Ekologiya 36(4/6): 71-73.

The different soil varieties distribution in the land, belonging to the town of Perushtitsa, Plovdiv county, is considered. It is established that the soils differ between themselves in their structure, composition and properties, they are suitable for grape-vines cultivating and are typical of the Pazardjik – Plovdiv region of Southern Bulgaria. Under the conditions of the region hilly relief, with rising of the level difference of the Northwestern slope the quantity of the fallen precipitation rises too. On the shorter and lower Northeastern slope, leeward towards the basic moisture transportation, the precipitation amount diminishes with the height. The stocks of available moisture of the soil during the period from “sap-movement beginning” till “mass blooming” are optimum and the grape-vine vegetation runs faster in the middle part of the slope. During the period “mass blooming”-“mass physiological maturity” the moisture stocks are insufficient everywhere and this period runs faster in the valley. The peculiarities of the microclimatic conditions of the hilly relief are shown best upon the grape size and upon the mean weight of the clusters. In the valley these indicators are biggest, up the slope they diminish. Up the slope the sugar content in the grape-juice rises, but the acids in it are changed in the opposite direction. (Language: Bulgarian)


Tarara, J. M., J. C. Ferguson, et al. (2005). “Asymmetrical canopy architecture due to prevailing wind direction and row orientation creates an imbalance in irradiance at the fruiting zone of grapevines.” Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 135(1/4): 144-155.

Tomasi, D., A. Calo, et al. (2000). “Effects of the Microclimate on the Vegetative and Aromatic Response in Sauvignon Blanc.” Rivista Viticoltura e di Enologia 53(2/3): 27-44. Microclimate changes in a vineyard (Sauvignon b. clone R3) in the Berici hills, Italy, were studied during 1992-93 and 1995-97. A soil depression caused the development of different climate conditions between the lower and upper zone of the vineyard. Plant development and fruit ripening were studied in response to these microclimate differences. The upper zone had a higher average temperature than the lower zone, but the lower zone had a greater range of temperatures, and had the lowest temperature at night and the warmest temperature in the day. Plant development and fruit ripening were delayed at lower temperatures. Grape quality and wine quality were better from the lower zone of the vineyard. Differences in the chemical composition of fruits (sugars and secondary metabolites including terpenoids) were observed in fruits obtained from the lower and upper zones of the vineyard. Fruits obtained from the lower zone were judged to be ‘more typical’. (Language: English)


Variceva, V. M. and V. T. Uzun (1960). “The influence of soil erosion in vineyards on the yield and quality of the grapes.” Vinodelie i Vinogradarstvo 20(7): 15-19.

In a sloping vineyard strips of grass were sown up and down and across the slope, dividing the area into rectangular blocks. Erosion was greatest at the top of each block; some deposition occurred at the bottom of the blocks. When vines were planted on the slope fewer losses occurred in the bottom sections of the blocks, where it was also found that yields were highest. Sugar content of the grapes was lowest in the lower sections of the blocks and was highest in the centre of the blocks. (Language: Russian)


Veres, A. and A. Valachovic (1978). “Phenological observations and bioclimatic statistics on certain vinegrowing areas of Czechoslovakia at different altitudes, with a view to the demarcation of vineyards.” Bulletin de l’O I V 51(564).

12 vine-growing areas of Czechoslovakia were compared in respect of latitude, climate, altitude (120-300 m), the local interaction of the last two, aspect, and especially frost risk. Italian Riesling vines grown in these areas in 1968-1970 were studied for dates of flowering, setting, and ripening, the length of the growing period, the yield and wt. of grapes, and their acidity (range 15.8 (Skalice-Zahoria)-8.4 g/l. (Tokay)) and must sugar content (range 15.4-… (Language: French)