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Deficit irrigation as a way to modulate Syrah quality parameters: Does less water make better wine?
Dr Chandré Honeth: Viticulture and Wine Science Lecturer
Date: 6:15pm, Tuesday, 6 December
Venue: A101, Eastern Institute of Technology, Taradale
Syrah is of specific economic interest to the Hawke‘s Bay wine industry. However, investigation into the production of Syrah has highlighted specific problems faced by producers in terms of ripening and quality. Imposing water stress during berry ripening has become a routine strategy for the modulation of grape berry composition and wine characteristics but responses of Syrah to deficit irrigation have been variable. Syrah is anisohydric in nature and therefore typically keeps its stomata open during soil drying, thus maintaining its growth and photosynthetic rate even in deteriorating conditions. This makes deficit irrigation management more challenging as a fine line exists between moderate stress which elicits positive fruit attributes and severe stress which leads to defoliation and a reduction in photosynthesis.
To have a better understanding of how Syrah vines respond to soil drying, and how best to schedule irrigation for optimising quality would benefit all growers in the Hawke’s Bay region in terms of both conserving increasingly scarce water resources and improving fruit quality for winemaking. Two Syrah vineyards, one in the Gimblett Gravels and one in the Bridge Pa Triangle sub-region were selected and monitored during the 2020 and 2021 season.
Dr Honeth will talk about the results from this trial and also give further insights into using deficit irrigation as a tool for improving quality parameters in Syrah in Hawkes Bay. She received her PhD from the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) where she investigated the influence of UVB radiation on berry metabolites in Sauvignon Blanc grapes, and she is currently a lecturer and researcher in Viticulture at the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.