Effects of timing and rate of N supply on leaf nitrogen status, grape yield and juice composition from Shiraz grapevines grafted to one of three different rootstocks

Bruno Holzapfel, M Treeby

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Yeast cells have a minimum N requirement to ferment a must through to dryness, so that grape N content (hence must N) becomes critical in meeting that prerequisite. Viticultural practices aimed at meeting that N requirement are of special relevance because interactions between rootstock and vineyard nitrogen supply strongly influence scion mineral nutrient status as well as shoot vigour, and via those processes, fruit composition. Such outcomes were investigated in a field trial involving Shiraz on three rootstocks viz. Teleki 5C, Schwarzmann and Ramsey. Five N supply regimes, varying from 0 to 80 kg/(haseason), were imposed through a drip-irrigation system during two periods (either flowering to veraison, or post-harvest to leaf-fall, or both) over three successive growing seasons. Post-harvest N supply increased scion leaf N and nitrate N concentrations at flowering for vines on Teleki 5C and Schwarzmann. By veraison, N recently applied in the flowering to veraison period elevated these indicators of N status in all vines on all rootstocks. Grape yields from vines on Teleki 5C and Schwarzmann were elevated by N supply after harvest, whereas juice soluble solids levels were lowered. Free amino acids in Shiraz juice were dominated by non-assimilable N, amounting to about 50% or more of the total free amino-N in the juice. Increasing N supply increased free amino acid concentrations in the juice of berries from vines on all rootstocks, but only vines on Schwarzmann derived any benefit from N supplied after harvest. The highest concentrations of free amino acids were measured in the berries from vines on Schwarzmann receiving 80 kg N/(ha.season). Of immediate practical relevance for N management of Shiraz grapevines on either Teleki 5C or Ramsey rootstocks, the minimum value for assimilable free amino-N concentration required to ferment a must through to dryness was not achieved if vineyard N application was limited to the post-harvest period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Grape and Wine Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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