Quantifying the relative impact of physical and human factors on the viticultural expression of terroir

Abstract— This work assesses the relative importance of the terroirs factors: climate, soil and the relation source-sink, on the vegetative development, yield, berry composition and plant sanitary status.

The study was carried out between 2011 and 2014 in nine vineyards from six viticultural regions over the coast of Río de la Plata (Uruguay). The cultivar studied was Tannat, vertically trellised and north-south oriented. The year effect refers to climate, which was characterized using solar irradiation and three indices. The soil was characterized using pits and physico-chemical analyses, to determine three textural categories and to define soil depth and water availability. The source-sink relationship referred to four categories of relations between leaf surface and yield per vine. Statistical analyses included a Mixed Model with random effects to determine the relative importance of each factor to the total variability within the dataset.

Total yield per vine was explained by the source-sink relationship, the year and their interaction, both linked to the rainfall amount occurred during the maturation period. The synthesis of primary compounds in the berries was more dependent on the year and the interaction of soil and year with the source-sink relationship. Secondary compound concentrations in the berry depended mainly on the source-sink relationship and climate.

This study represents a significant advance to the knowledge of grapevine adaptation to the Río de la Plata terroirs, assigning a fundamental role to the vine grower actions. The growers can modulate grapevine balance as a function of the environment.

Keywords berry composition, soil, Tannat, terroir, yield.

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Agriculture Journal::Quantifying the relative impact of physical and human factors on the viticultural expression of terroir

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