Background and Aims: Old vineyards are often suggested to be superior to younger ones, a claim that has scarcely been investigated scientifically. The aim of this study was to investigate if vineyard age influences vine performance. Methods and Results: Five commercial Shiraz vineyards in the Barossa Valley, SA, were selected; each site contained younger vines, which had been vegetatively propagated from older vines on the same site. Measurements of vegetative growth and reproductive development were obtained over three seasons. Results show that the effect of vine age is difficult to measure and separate from seasonal and site interactions. Vine age was strongly correlated with trunk circumference. Vines aged 49 years showed more similarities with older vines (93–168 years old) than with younger vines (6–28 years old). Conclusions: Vine age had an impact on grapevine reproductive performance. Older vines produced a yield greater than that of younger vines. Greater vine size, measured by increase in trunk circumference over time, may be a key determining factor in increased reproductive capacity. Significance of the Study: Vine age is commonly attributed to superior vine performance, as a precursor to fruit and wine quality. Our findings suggest that increasing vine age had a positive effect on reproductive performance in terms of yield, contrary to popular belief. This establishes a starting point for future studies that are underway to quantify if these findings have an effect on fruit and wine composition and sensory attributes.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research|
|State||Published - Jan 2018|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was funded by Wine Australia and by The University of Adelaide as part of a PhD scholarship. Special thanks to the Barons of the Barossa for supplying additional funding and to Mrs Prue Henschke and Mr Mal Whyatt for assisting in sourcing suitable old vineyards and accommodating growers. All vineyards were located on private land with family ownership; thanks to the support and flexibility of all growers, including Mr Graham Koch, Mr Paul and Mr James Lindner, Mr Ralph Schrapel, Mr Michael Fechner, Mrs Prue and Mr Stephen Henschke. Thanks to the Viticulture laboratory staff and interns at The University of Adelaide who assisted in data collection and to Associate Professor Andrew Metcalfe from the School of Mathematical Sciences for his time and guidance on data analysis.
© 2017 Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology Inc.
- Vitis vinifera
- fruit mass
- old vines
- vine balance
ASJC Scopus subject areas