The plasticity of berry shrivelling in 'Shiraz': A vineyard survey


  • S. Y. Rogiers
  • B. P. Holzapfel



anthocyanins, grapevine, berry ripening, sugar accumulation, Vitis vinifera


Berry water loss during late ripening is a cultivar dependent-trait and is accentuated in wine grape varieties such as 'Shiraz'. 'Shiraz' berry development was monitored in twelve vineyards over two seasons to characterise the extent of weight loss that can occur within a grape growing region. From veraison onwards, berry fresh mass was greatest in vineyards using excessive irrigation and least in vineyards using cautious irrigation strategies. In the first season, berry fresh mass increased, reached a maximum and subsequently declined. Conversely, in the second season, characterised by rain and high humidity, berry fresh mass increased, then stabilised without a consistent decline. In both seasons, berry sugar import rates were highest shortly after veraison but then declined gradually, terminating several weeks after the weight maximum. Notwithstanding that berries with large maximum weights tended to undergo greater rates of weight loss, these berries remained heavier at harvest compared to those berries that were smaller prior to the onset of weight loss. Canopy size, yield and crop load were not key determinants of berry weight loss rates. Berry anthocyanin and sugar accumulation were closely correlated during early ripening but anthocyanin degradation took place during the late weight loss phase.