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  • Author or Editor: Cassandra M. Plank x
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Cassandra M. Plank, Edward W. Hellman and Thayne Montague

Methoxypyrazines (MPs) are fruit-derived extractable compounds that contribute to cultivar-specific aroma traits in wine, and greater concentrations can contribute to unpleasant vegetative aromas. Both light exposure and temperature have been reported to influence MP content in developing wine grapes, but individual effects of light and temperature are confounded. A novel method of manipulating light exposure with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) was used to impose light treatments with little or no effect on cluster temperature. Three treatments were imposed on developing fruit of Vitis vinifera (cv. Cabernet Sauvignon): 1) clusters exposed to direct sunlight, 2) clusters shaded by the grapevine canopy, and 3) clusters shaded by the canopy and exposed to supplemental LED light. Experiments were conducted over 3 years across pre- and postveraison periods of fruit development. A second experiment imposed the same light exposure treatments to ripening clusters on vines experiencing continual shoot growth during the postveraison period. Light exposure reduced 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine (IBMP) concentration of developing grape berries in the preveraison period independently of berry heating from solar radiation. Berry IBMP responded less to postveraison light levels, except on vines with active shoot growth, suggesting IBMP synthesis was continued during active vine growth but was suppressed by light. An inverse relationship of growing degree days (GDDs) with berry IBMP was observed, indicating high temperatures also reduce berry IBMP concentration. Response to temperature could result from either radiant heating of light-exposed clusters or from high ambient air temperature. Canopy management should consider the impact of both light and temperature on IBMP, and vine management practices should be adjusted appropriately to regional growing conditions and grape cultivars.