The impact of cluster thinning and leaf removal timing on the grape quality and concentration of monomeric anthocyanins in Cabernet-Sauvignon and Probus (Vitis vinifera L.) wines
Aim: Leaf removal around clusters and cluster thinning are techniques usually applied in cool-climate vineyards in order to achieve optimal grape maturity. However, the impact of the timing of these two operations differs across varieties. Thus, the aim of the present work was to investigate the effects of cluster thinning and leaf removal timing (performed at three specific time points) on grape quality and monomeric anthocyanins in the wines of Cabernet-Sauvignon and Probus (Kadarka ×
... (Kadarka × Cabernet-Sauvignon, Vitis vinifera L.)Methods and results: The experiment was conducted in Sremski Karlovci (Northern Serbia) in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Leaf removal was applied on six basal nodes of each shoot at three time points, 7 days after flowering, 30 days after flowering, and at veraison, i.e., at the onset of berry ripening. After cluster thinning, which was performed 7 days after flowering, one cluster per shoot was retained. On the treated vines, leaf removal treatment and cluster thinning were applied only once. Leaf removal was more effective than cluster thinning in respect to grape quality. Leaf removal, applied 7 and 30 days after flowering, decreased titratable acidity in Cabernet-Sauvignon, while in Probus an interaction of leaf removal and year was observed. Moreover, early leaf removal decreased the incidence of Botrytis sp. in Probus. The varieties reacted differently to cluster thinning in respect to grape quality: cluster thinning increased total soluble solids in Probus and lowered titratable acidity in Cabernet-Sauvignon. In 2015, both cluster thinning and leaf removal yielded changes in the anthocyanin ratios in the wines. Cluster thinning increased total and acylated anthocyanins in the wine of Cabernet-Sauvignon compared to wine derived from unthinned vines. The peonidin content was 40 % higher in the Cabernet-Sauvignon wine if the vines were subjected to leaf removal treatments.Conclusions: Cluster thinning and leaf removal affected both Cabernet-Sauvignon and Probus (Vitis vinifera L.) grape quality and wine composition. Early leaf removal was the most effective treatment in both varieties. Therefore, combined application of cluster thinning and early leaf removal is highly recommended in the production of high-quality red wines in Serbia.Significance and impact of the study: Timing of leaf removal application was usually investigated around flowering and veraison. Our results suggested that leaf removal between these two phenological stages also improves grape quality and changes the ratio of the monomeric anthocyanins in the wine.