Response of yield components and fruit composition of `Chambourcin' (Vitis vinifera × V. rupestris) grapevines to three pruning levels of 15, 20, and 25 nodes retained for each pound of dormant prunings; and three cluster thinning levels of 1, 2, and 2+ clusters per shoot in 2002 and 1, 1.2, and 1.5 clusters per shoot in 2003 were measured at two vineyards in the lower midwestern United States. In both years of the study, there was very little interaction of pruning and cluster thinning. The proportion of non-count shoots increased within the canopy in response to increased pruning severity. Pruning weight means were lower in 2002 across all treatments compared to 2003. Pruning weights decreased with the increase in the number of clusters retained per vine. Pruning influenced yield only in 2003 when the proportion of count shoots decreased below 62% of the total, hence the relationship between number of shoots per vine and yield (R2 = 0.3452; P < 0.0003). In both years of the study, the increase in severity of cluster thinning resulted in yield reduction but an increase in the total soluble solids in juice. Yield compensation was achieved by an increase in cluster weight of 38%, and 25% in response to a reduction of 37%, and 23% in cluster numbers; which translated into a yield reduction of only 10% and 3%, at Vineyards 1 and 2, respectively. Balanced pruning to 15 to 20 nodes per 1 lb of prunings and cluster thinning to 1 to 1.2 clusters/shoot optimized yield (9.7 kg/vine, 13.4 t·ha-1) and fruit composition, and maintained vine size (≥0.3 kg·m-1 of row). These results provide valuable information for growers of `Chambourcin' grapevines in the lower midwestern U.S., as well as in other climates with long growing seasons.
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