Taming emerging wine grape varieties: juice quality

Project Description : 

Facing unpredictable climate changes, maintaining a sustainable agriculture depends on the availability of genetically diverse cultivars. The traditional European grapes (e.g. Pinot Noir) are cultivars of a single species. In contrast, emerging grape cultivars (European-American hybrids) take advantage of the tremendous genetic diversity of the native American grape species (about 30 species). In the traditional European grape varieties, shoot and fruit thinning is known to influence fruit juice quality (ripening time, sugar, acidity) and help reduce pesticide usage. Little is known regarding these effects on emerging European-American grape hybrids. Our multiyear project, started in 2015, quantifies the effect of thinning practices and their cost on these emerging hybrids. Here we ask: Would the resulting increase in wine and grape quality and decrease in disease pressure be worth the added labor cost?
The student will compare the juice quality (sugar content, acidity, nitrogen) of different grape varieties that have been subjected to different cultural practices (thinning fruits and/or shoots).
The potential student should have an interest in either grape growing, food sciences and/ or plant sciences.
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Contact Person: 

Elsa Petit

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