Grape Metabolic Response to Postveraison Water Deficit Is Affected by Interseason Weather Variability Academic Article uri icon


  • Postveraison water deficit is a common strategy implemented to improve fruit composition in many wine-growing regions. However, contrasting results are often reported on fruit size and composition, a challenge for generalizing the positive impact of this technique. Our research investigated the effect of water deficit (WD) imposed at veraison on Merlot grapevines, during two experimental seasons (2014–2015). In both years WD resulted in reduced carbon assimilation rates and leaf shedding. However, the treatment effect on the analyzed berry parameters varied between seasons. Modification of skin metabolites was more evident in 2015 than in 2014, despite the similar soil water content and water stress physiological parameters (gas exchange, water potential) recorded in the two experimental years. Higher solar radiation and air temperature in 2015 than in 2014 hint for the involvement of atmospheric parameters in fulfilling the potential effect of WD. Our results suggest that the interaction between water availability and weather conditions plays a crucial role in modulating the grape berry composition.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017