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Gerhard C. Rossouw, Jason P. Smith, Celia Barril, Alain Deloire and Bruno P. Holzapfel

Grapevine (Vitis vinifera) berries are sugar and nitrogen (N) sinks between veraison and fruit maturity. Limited photoassimilation, often caused by water constraints, induces reserve total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC) remobilization, contributing to berry sugar accumulation, while fruit N accumulation can be affected by vine water supply. Although postveraison root carbohydrate remobilization toward the fruit has been identified through 14C tracing studies, it is still unclear when this remobilization occurs during the two phases of berry sugar accumulation (rapid and slow). Similarly, although postveraison N reserve mobilization toward the fruit has been reported, the impact of water constraints during berry N accumulation on its translocation from the different grapevine organs requires clarification. Potted grapevines were grown with or without fruit from the onset of veraison. Vines were irrigated to sustain water constraints, and fortnightly root, trunk, shoot, and leaf structural biomass, starch, soluble sugar, total N, and amino N concentrations were determined. The fruit sugar and N accumulation was also assessed. Root starch depletion coincided with root sucrose and hexose accumulation during peak berry sugar accumulation. Defruiting at veraison resulted in continuous root growth, earlier starch storage, and root hexose accumulation. Leaf N depletion coincided with fruit N accumulation, while the roots of defruited vines accumulated N reserves. Root growth, starch, and N reserve accumulation were affected by maturing fruit during water constraints. Root starch is an alternative source to support fruit sugar accumulation, resulting in reserve starch depletion during rapid fruit sugar accumulation, while root starch refills during slow berry sugar accumulation. On the other hand, leaf N is a source toward postveraison fruit N accumulation, and the fruit N accumulation prevents root N storage.