Assessing the influence of irrigation and fertigation on fruit composition, vine performance and wine quality in a cool, humid climate /
Lowrey, Wesley D.
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A study was devised to evaluate influences of irrigation and fertigation practices on Vitis vinifera and Vitis labruscana grapes in the Niagara Peninsula. A modified FAO Penman- Monteith evapotranspiration formula was used to calculate water budgets and schedule irrigations. Five deficit irrigation treatments (non-irrigated control; deficits imposed postbloom, lag phase, and veraison; fiiU season irrigation) were employed in a Chardonnay vineyard. Transpiration rate (4-7 /xg H20/cmVs) and soil moisture data demonstrated that the control and early deficit treatments were under water stress throughout the season. The fiiU season irrigation treatment showed an 18% (2001) and 19% (2002) increase in yield over control due to increased berry weight. Soluble solids and wine quality were not compromised, and the fiiU season treatment showed similar or higher °Brix than all other treatments. Berry titratable acidity andpH also fell within acceptable levels for all five treatments. Irrigation/fertigation timing trials were conducted on Concord and Niagara vines in 2001- 02. The six Concord treatments consisted of a non-irrigated control, irrigation fi^om Eichhom and Lorenz (EL) stage 12 to harvest, and four fertigation treatments which applied 70 kg/ha urea. The nine Niagara treatments included a non-irrigated control, two irrigated treatments (ceasing at veraison and harvest, respectively) and six fertigation treatments of various durations. Slight yield increases (ca. 10% in Concord; 29% in Niagara) were accompanied by small decreases in soluble solids (1.5°Brix), and methyl anthranilate concentrations. Transpiration rate and soil moisture (1 1.9-16.3%) data suggested that severe water stress was present in these Toledo clay based vineyards.