The main aim of this project is to establish trial sites across three winegrape production regions for the evaluation of Cabernet Sauvignon clones.
Substantial progress has been made towards understanding the contribution of Shiraz and Chardonnay clones to regional wine styles. Interactions between clones and the environment may define the contrasting wine styles between sites and regions. Unfortunately, in a recent project (SAR 1303), the effects of clone, climate, and soils are somewhat confounded as the individual clones are planted across a range of locations (blocks) within each vineyard site, and trials have yet to be extended to other varieties.
Three field sites of Cabernet Sauvignon plantings will be established in contrasting climates and soils. Each will contain at least 10 Cabernet Sauvignon clones that will be selected in collaboration with the sector and monitored to ensure that vines are well-established. In the future, clone performance will be evaluated via a range of parameters including vine phenology, vegetative and reproductive growth, water relations and berry traits. The construction of the trial will allow comparison between different clones at the same site and between the performance of each clone in different regions.
Australian grapegrowers and winemakers are the primary target audience of this project, who will benefit from new insights into clonal performance in contrasting environments. Better matching of clones to their environment or terroir will potentially improve the quality of Australian wine and provide an outline of clone-specific management practices to help negate the effects of climate change. Formal evaluations of modern (recently imported or selected) Cabernet Sauvignon clones will also be made easier by having established trials in place.