Leaf Removal: A Tool to Improve Crop Control and Fruit Quality in Vinifera Grapes

Research Date
Paolo Sabbatini, Glen Greiffendorf, Pat Murad, Cristian Paulsen
Best Practices, Crop Quality, Disease Management
Crop Categories
Beverage Categories

Cool summers and wet fall in Michigan often limits technological fruit maturity at harvest especially in cultivars prone to cluster-rot. Several important wine grape varieties in Michigan have high susceptibility to harvest season cluster rot (e.g. Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot noir, all Vitis vinifera L.). A detrimental characteristic common to all of these varieties is the compactness of the berries held on the cluster rachis. The aim of this work is to determine whether a quantified amount of leaf removal at bloom would reduce fruit set and consequently produce a controlled reduction in cluster compactness. Our study was conducted to 1) verify whether early leaf removal can be consistently used as a tool for controlling cluster bunch rot through reducing cluster compactness on Riesling and determine the effects of leaf removal on grape quality (skin/flesh ratio, color and basic fruit chemistry parameters).

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