Background and Aims: Pre-veraison auxin treatments can delay grape berry ripening, but there is little information about their effects on berry development and wine composition. The aim of this study was to further investigate these effects and explore the practical implications of delaying ripening.
Methods and Results: Treatment of pre-veraison Vitis vinifera L. cv. Shiraz berries with 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) significantly delayed ripening as measured by the accumulation of total soluble solids (TSS) and anthocyanins. The onset of the post-veraison phase of berry size increase was delayed in NAA-treated fruit, but these fruit were significantly larger than Control fruit at harvest. NAA-treatments significantly increased the synchronicity of berry sugar accumulation. GC-MS analysis of wine headspace volatiles showed significant, but largely small, differences in the concentration of 19 compounds. No significant difference in sensory properties was found between replicate small-scale wine lots made from Control and NAA-treated fruit.
Conclusions: Auxin treatment delayed berry ripening, increased the synchronicity of sugar accumulation between berries, increased berry size and changed the levels of some volatile compounds, but did not affect wine sensory properties.
Significance of the Study: We propose that NAA sprays might be used to delay grape berry ripening and increase the synchronicity of sugar accumulation, and therefore ripening, without deleterious effects on wine quality. This may be useful in controlling winery intake and fruit composition.