The Effect of Irrigation-Initiation Timing on the Phenolic Composition and Overall Quality of Cabernet Sauvignon Wines Grown in a Semi-Arid Climate

Elyashiv Drori, Sarel Munitz, Ania Pinkus, Maria Stanevsky, Yishai Netzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

In semi-arid areas, vineyards grown for winemaking are usually mildly irrigated by drip irrigation systems in a manner maintaining drought stress. This practice ensures the proper development of vegetative and reproductive organs on the one hand, and on the other, the development of high-quality grapes which can be hampered by overly abundant water application. In previous work, we have developed and demonstrated an irrigation model suitable for high-quality grape production in semi-arid areas. Here, we tackle the question of proper irrigation initiation dates—should one wait for vines to develop drought stress before the initiation of irrigation, or rather commence irrigation earlier? Our results show that vines which undergo initial irrigation late in the growing season tend to develop a lower midday stem water potential even after irrigation initiation. In addition, these vines tend to produce a lower number of bunches per vine and smaller berry size, leading to lower yields. The wine produced from the late-irrigated treatments had a higher phenolic content, primarily due to higher levels of catechin and epicatechin. Their levels increased as irrigation initiation dates were delayed, while caffeic acid levels showed an opposite trend. Late irrigation also led to higher color intensities compared to those of irrigation at earlier stages, due to higher levels of most anthocyanins. Finally, we show that the overall wine sensory score, representing its overall quality, was approximately five points higher for wines made from delayed irrigation treatments compared to wines made from early season irrigation treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number770
JournalFoods
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Drought stress
  • Irrigation
  • Organoleptic taste
  • Phenols
  • Red wine quality
  • Vitis vinifera

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