Physiological changes induced by either pre- or post-veraison deficit irrigation in 'Merlot' vines grafted on two different rootstocks
Reduced summer precipitations and higher evapotranspiration due to elevated temperatures are expected to enhance the impact of water deficit in modern viticulture. We investigated the effect of the timing of deficit irrigation on vine growth, water relations, yield and grape composition in 'Merlot' vines grafted on 1103P or SO4. In both years we did not measure any differences between rootstocks in stem water potential (SWP). Vegetative growth was decreased by the restriction of irrigation between fruit set and veraison. Stomatal conductance (gs) was affected by irrigation, but not by the rootstock. During the pre-veraison period there was a clear inverse relationship between gs and SWP. The leaf non photochemical quenching readily responded to the stress imposed on 1103P rootstock. Vines subjected to water deficit between fruit set and veraison produced smaller berries than well irrigated ones, whereas deficit applied after veraison determined about 10 % differences in berry weight. The highest and lowest values of pH and TA were measured in berries from pre-veraison deficit irrigated vines grafted on both 1103P and SO4, respectively.
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