Shoot Density Affects `Riesling' Grapevines I. Vine Performance

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Agriculture Canada Research Station, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0, Canada

`Riesling' grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.) were subjected for 4 years (1987-90) to three shoot densities (16, 26, and 36 shoots/m of row) combined with three crop-thinning levels (1, 1.5, and 2 clusters/shoot) in a factorialized treatment arrangement. Weight of cane prunings per vine (vine size) decreased linearly with increasing shoot density and clusters per shoot. Cane periderm formation (in terms of percent canes per vine with >10 ripened internodes) was inhibited by increased shoot density, while vine winter injury (primarily bud and cordon) increased slightly in a linear fashion with increasing clusters per shoot. Canopy density and leaf area data suggested that fruit clusters were most exposed to sunlight at a shoot density of 26 shoots/m of row due to reduced lateral shoot growth and a trend toward slightly smaller leaves. Yield, clusters per vine, and crop load (yield per kilogram of cane prunings) increased with increasing shoot density and clusters per shoot, while other yield components (cluster weight, berries per cluster, and berry weight) decreased. Soluble solids and pH of berries and juices decreased with increasing shoot density and clusters per shoot, but titratable acidity was not substantially affected. Free volatile terpenes increased in berries and juices in 1989 with increasing shoot density, as did potentially volatile terpenes in 1990. Shoot densities of 16 to 26 shoots/m of row are recommended for low to moderately vigorous `Riesling' vines to achieve economically acceptable yields and high winegrape quality simultaneously.

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