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Irrigation needs and optimization of the deficit irrigation in vines subject to the forced of the production and other practices of culture for the improvement of the quality of the wine in front of climatic change.

Starting date: 26/06/2017 End date: 25/06/2020
Programme: Efficient use of water in agriculture

Financing entities:

A common threat to the Spanish viticulture industry from warm regions is the loss of quality in the must and wine due to the increasing high temperatures experienced with the ongoing climate change. The loss of quality is due to low must acidity and wine complexity. This loss particularly occurs when high temperatures prevail during the berry ripening period.

Crop forcing is a technique that allows restarting the annual growing cycle after removing sink organs (fruits and apical growing buds) and leaves. Grapevines under crop forcing undergo two cycles: the first one is aborted by the forcing itself, and the second develops fully if the time of forcing application is adequate. When applied properly it delays ripening to a most favorable period for ripening with cooler temperatures. The final effect is that must and wine improves significantly its quality. Although crop forcing in grapevine is well known since the eighties of the last century, it has only been until very recently that its benefits have been demonstrated against climate change in warm areas. However, due to its novelty, information on how to optimize irrigation in grapevines subjected to crop forcing is lacking. Seemingly, information is very scant regarding the sustainability of this technique in the mid-term using an optimized irrigation technique (3 years of consecutive application).

The objective of this proposal is first describe the effect of deficit irrigation prior to the application of the forcing (unexplored field), and secondly, to find out the right combination of deficit irrigation prior to the forcing with the best known practice of regulated deficit irrigation technique for the cultivar of study. The criteria of suitability for this irrigation recommendations will be based on principles of sustainability and improvement in wine quality.