Shoot thinning of Semillon in a hot climate did not improve yield and berry and wine quality
AuthorDe Bei, R; Wang, X; Papagiannis, L; Fuentes, S; Gilliham, M; Tyerman, S; Collins, C
Source TitleOENO One
University of Melbourne Author/sFuentes Jara, Sigfredo Augusto
AffiliationAgriculture and Food Systems
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsDe Bei, R., Wang, X., Papagiannis, L., Fuentes, S., Gilliham, M., Tyerman, S. & Collins, C. (2020). Shoot thinning of Semillon in a hot climate did not improve yield and berry and wine quality. OENO One, 54 (3), pp.469-484. https://doi.org/10.20870/oeno-one.2020.54.3.2984.
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLPublished version
Aim: Shoot thinning is a common canopy management practice used to obtain a desired shoot density and to improve canopy microclimate. Since thinning is often carried out manually, the cost can be high. In this study the effect of severe shoot thinning (50 % of shoots removed) applied at EL 15 was investigated by comparing yield components, canopy size, berry and wine chemistry, and sensory attributes to a non-thinned control for the variety Semillon. The objective was to determine whether shoot thinning could change canopy architecture and lead to improved fruit and wine chemistry and sensory characteristics. Methods and results: The trial was carried out over four consecutive growing seasons (starting in 2014-15) in the Semillon block of the Coombe vineyard (Waite Campus, the University of Adelaide). Canopy architecture was monitored at key phenological stages in each season and yield components were assessed at harvest. The harvested fruit was used for chemical and sensory analysis of the berries. Wines were made and their chemistry and sensorial attributes assessed. Shoot thinning reduced the total leaf area in only two of the four seasons, but single shoot leaf area and cane weight were higher in shoot-thinned vines in all seasons. Shoot thinning did not reduce yield, despite a large reduction in bunch number, because of increased bunch weight. Shoot thinning did not change berry and wine chemistry. Similarly, little differences were observed in the sensory profile of berries and wines, and the assessors preferred the wines obtained from shoot thinned vines in the last season only. Conclusions: In this study, shoot thinning increased the leaf area per shoot and the cane weight, but yield and grape and wine chemistry were unaffected. The vine balance indices leaf area/yield and yield/pruning weight were also unaffected by the treatment, despite its intensity (50 % of shoots removed). Significance and impact of the study: The practice of shoot thinning when applied at EL stage 15 (8-9 leaves separated) was not effective as a technique to improve canopy microclimate and berry and wine chemistry for the white variety Semillon in a hot Australian climate. By not applying shoot thinning growers could potentially make significant savings without affecting yield or wine properties. Further research is needed to explore the effect and timing of shoot thinning on other varieties and in different environments.
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