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Load levels in &lsquo|Chardonnay&rsquo| vineyards and their effects on yield and wine quality

Arturo Lavín A.1, Angélica Gutierrez T.2 y Ma. Soledad Rojas C.2

Two trials to evaluate the effects of four load levels on young ‘Chardonnay’ vines under intensive training management were performed at Cauquenes, Chile, during the 1993/94 and 1994/95 seasons. The treatments were as follows: natural load, two bunches per shoot, one bunch per shoot and one bunch per two shoots. The load levels were imposed by cluster thinning before bloom. Growth and yield were evaluated and grapes were fermented under controlled conditions. Musts and wines were chemically characterized and wines sensory evaluated. The intensity of thinning modified the yield levels per hectare and per plants, from 1.7 to 0.6 and 1.3 to 0.3 kg plant-1 in the 1993/94 and 1994/95 seasons, respectively, but did not modify vine growth or the majority of the analyzed compounds in musts and wines. In the sensory evaluation no important differences were found. It is concluded that if young vines have adequate water and nutrient availability, high load levels do not influence their growth or cause a decrease in the grape or wine quality.

Key words: vines, wine, load levels, quality, Chardonnay.

1 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Centro Experimental Cauquenes, Casilla 165, Cauquenes, Chile. E-mail: inia-cauquens@entelchile.net
2 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Oficina Técnica Copiapó, Casilla 539, Copiapó, Chile.

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