Effects of prohexadione-calcium on grape yield components and fruit and wine composition
Lo Giudice, D.
Wolf, T. K.
Zoecklein, B. W.
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Prohexadione-calcium (prohexadione-Ca) was applied to field-grown Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Seyval to evaluate rates and timing effects on fruit yield components and on fruit and wine composition. Berries per cluster, berry weight, cluster weight, and clusters per shoot in the subsequent season were all decreased by multiple, prebloom plus postbloom, applications to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet franc. Similar reductions in current season components of yield were observed with Seyval. Application (250 mg/L) to single clusters of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay at bloom, or in the one-to-two-week prebloom period decreased fruit set, whereas applications one to two weeks postbloom reduced berry weight, with no impact on fruit set. Berry weight reduction correlated to increased color intensity (420 nm + 520 nm), total anthocyanins, total phenols, and phenol-free glycosyl-glucose (PFGG) in Cabernet Sauvignon. In a separate experiment, prohexadione-Ca increased Cabernet franc must color intensity, total anthocyanins, and total phenols, despite having, minimal effects on berry weight or crop yield. Aroma and flavor triangle difference tests did not distinguish treatment differences with young Cabernet franc wines. This study of prohexadione-Ca effects on grape reproductive development illustrated that berry set and berry weight were responsive to application timing, with the one-to-two-week period after bloom most sensitive to reductions in berry weight. The concurrent effects on fruit composition were generally positive, while the full impact on wine quality remains equivocal, but worthy of further evaluation.