Effect of pre-harvest techniques to control berry ripening in grapevine cv. Sauvignon blanc
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Due to different reasons (changed climatic conditions, higher photosynthetic efficiency of newly established vineyards, yield restriction imposed by production protocols), there is currently a tendency toward an early ripening processes in grapevine combined with the production of berries characterized by high sugar content. This tendency conflicts with the market general request for wines (mostly white wines) with low alcohol level and characterised by a fresh, easy-to-drink taste. We tested two different techniques applied to the canopy (defoliation and the use of an antitraspirant product) with the aim to delay the ripening process and to improve the berry quality of the white cultivar Sauvignon blanc. The defoliation performed at veraison allowed to postpone the ripening process of about 5 days as compared to undefoliated vines, without altering the sugars/acids ratio of the berries. The antitranspirant product allowed to postpone by 10 to 15 days the ripening process. Brix at berry level was reduced by 1.5-2.5 degree in the 2 considered seasons, whereas the effect on acidity was contradicting and needs further research for a full understanding of the mechanisms involved in the process.