The effect of light intensity and temperature on berry growth and sugar accumulation in Vitis vinifera 'Shiraz' under vineyard conditions
Temperature and light are key climatic factors which affect grapevine physiology in the growing season. Our aim was to investigate the interactive effects of temperature and light intensity on reproductive growth responses of 'Shiraz' vines in vineyard conditions. Well-watered vines were covered with no shade, light, medium and heavy shade covers in a vineyard over three consecutive seasons. Several heat events, i.e., air temperatures exceeding 40 °C for several days, occurred in two of the seasons. Heavy shade reduced canopy temperatures by 3.2-6 °C in the cooler season and by 4-6 °C in the warmer seasons, relative to air temperature and compared with the open canopy. The onset of berry growth was delayed by the heavy shade but the rate of sugar accumulation was not affected. During the season with the most severe heat events, berry dry matter accumulation was significantly higher in the shaded treatments compared to the unshaded vines. The hypothesis was confirmed that medium and heavy shade conferred high levels of protection on the berry ripening process from high summer temperatures and the concurrent exposure to light intensities.
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