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Organic and inorganic anions in Shiraz and Chardonnay grape berries and wine as affected by rootstock under saline conditions


Dr Rob Walker, fax +61 3 5051 3111, email


Background and Aims:  Rootstocks influence the inorganic ion and organic acid composition of grapes of the scion variety. The aim was to investigate the impact of rootstocks on the inter-relationship of inorganic ions and organic acid anions in the skin and pulp of grapes and in resultant wine.

Methods and Results:  Vines were irrigated with water having electrical conductivities in the range 1.6–2.1 dS/m. Chloride, sodium, potassium, malic and tartaric acid concentrations were higher in almost all cases in skin than in pulp. Significant positive correlations existed between chloride and sodium concentrations in both pulp and skin. A significant negative linear regression existed between malic acid and both chloride and sodium concentrations in skin of Chardonnay berries. There were positive linear regressions in chloride concentration between berry (pulp and skin) and resultant wine chloride in both Chardonnay and Shiraz.

Conclusion:  The higher malic acid and lower chloride concentrations in skin of most grafted Chardonnay and Shiraz vines, and vice versa for own rooted vines, may indicate competition for similar transporter proteins involved in loading into skins. Alternatively, higher salt concentrations in skins may be associated with accelerated malic acid catabolism.

Significance of the Study:  Chloride-excluding rootstocks demonstrated advantages through reduced chloride (but not sodium) in pulp and skin of grape berries and in resultant wines. Where rootstocks reduced chloride concentrations in skin of grape berries, there is potential for higher malic acid in skin and in the resultant red wines.