Cell death in grape berries: causes, consequences, and control

Summary

Objective

To provide knowledge to the wine industry on the causes and impact of berry cell death in wine grapes which will:

  • Enable better prediction of cell death at different developmental stages leading to berry shrivel
  • Enable cost-effective mitigation strategies related to berry and canopy cooling techniques, canopy management, and/or clonal/rootstock combinations
  • Explore preliminary results linking greater cell death and berry shrivel with metal ion concentration, specifically copper and iron
  • Provide the means to rapidly measure the onset of cell death and berry shrivel in berries in the vineyard.

Background

Berry shrivel is a phenomenon of weight loss in berries during the late ripening stage attributed to dehydration and loss of berry cell vitality that results in losses of yield, quality and profitability.

Research approach

The project will provide recommendations on rootstocks and clones that have mitigating effects on degree of berry cell death and berry shrivel and will investigate bunch zone shading (bunch zone only or whole canopy) as a mitigation strategy for heatwaves and warm climates to reduce berry cell death and berry shrivel. The consequences of different vine balance and canopy management on berry cell death and shrivel will be measured and multi-season data for Cabernet Sauvignon from project UA 1702 will be established. Prototypes of a berry cell death field instrumentation will be developed ready for the appropriate companies or incubators for commercialisation.

Sector benefits

The ability to rapidly measure the onset of cell death and berry shrivel in berries in the vineyard using new technology and smartphone Apps.

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