Chapter 10

Vineyard Canopy Management

(book excerpts)

Vineyard canopy management is employed to optimize yield, improve fruit quality, reduce the risk of disease, and facilitate other vineyard operations. These objectives are generally achieved by improving the microclimate of the grapevine through the use of shoot positioning, shoot thinning, hedging, leaf removal, and cluster thinning. These management practices can improve light interception, which promotes sugar accumulation and acid composition, improves phenolic compounds (for red grapes), reduces levels of methoxypyrazines, and improves development of aroma and flavor compounds. Since light interception also affects bud development, fruit set, and berry growth, shading can negatively affect crop levels. Open canopies tend to have reduced disease pressure, since improved airflow reduces humidity, which allows better penetration of fungicides and insecticides. Finally, vine vigor can also be controlled indirectly by management techniques—irrigation, fertilization, and floor management.

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