Effects of manipulated grape berry transpiration on post-veraison sugar accumulation

B. Rebucci, Stefano Poni, C. Intrieri, E. Magnanini, A. N. Lakso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A series of experiments were conducted on container-grown Pinot Noir and Sangiovese grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.) to investigate whether changes in berry water loss at veraison influence the pattern of sugar accumulation. Berry transpiration was induced to vary either by changing the vapour pressure deficit (VPD) around bunches through temperature or relative humidity (RH) manipulations, or by applying drying-accelerating emulsion or a hydrophobic coating (vaseline) over the berry skin. In all the experiments, every berry of every bunch was rated prior to treatment as to softness and colour intensity. Transpiration rates were derived either from measurements of attached bunches using a custom-built open gas-exchange system or from weight loss calculated for single excised berries. Berry development and ripening were monitored throughout each experiment as deformability, fresh weight, and sugar concentration and content. Berries either did not respond to VPD-enhancement or showed reduced water loss when bunches were subjected to high temperature. Low berry transpiration in the latter treatment led to lower sugar content per berry up to harvest, and berry transpiration and net sugar intake were linearly correlated up to 0.20-0.25 mmol/m2·s. A similar correlation was found also in the coating experiment within the first five days after treatments. When berry transpiration was restricted by applying vaseline, sugar accumulation was retarded. Low values of VPD, induced by raising the RH around the bunches, lowered sugar concentration but not sugar content per berry. The present study provides preliminary evidence that sugar accumulation in grapevine berries responds to changes in the evaporative demand around the bunch at veraison.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Grape and Wine Research
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Assimilate partitioning
  • Firmness
  • Grapevines
  • Ripening
  • Soluble solids
  • Water loss


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