Potential effect of atmospheric warming on grapevine phenology and post-harvest heat accumulation across a range of climates
Carbohydrates are accumulated within the perennial structure of grapevines when their production exceeds the requirements of reproduction and growth. The period between harvest and leaf-fall (the post-harvest period) is a key period for carbohydrate accumulation in relatively warmer grape-growing regions. The level of carbohydrate reserves available for utilisation in the following season has an important effect on canopy growth and yield potential and is therefore an important consideration in vineyard management. In a warming climate, the post-harvest period is lengthening and becoming warmer, evidenced through studies in wine regions worldwide that have correlated recent air temperature increases with changing grapevine phenology. Budbreak, flowering, veraison, and harvest have all been observed to be occurring earlier than in previous decades. Additionally, the final stage of the grapevine phenological cycle, leaf-fall, occurs later. This study explored the potential for increased post-harvest carbohydrate accumulation by modelling heat accumulation following harvest dates for the recent climate (1975–2004) and two warmer climate projections with mean temperature anomalies of +1.26 and +2.61 °C. Summaries of post-harvest heat accumulation between harvest and leaf-fall were produced for each of Australia’s Geographical Indications (wine regions) to provide comparisons from the base temperatures to projected warmer conditions across a range of climates. The results indicate that for warmer conditions, all regions observe earlier occurring budbreak and harvest as well as increasing post-harvest growing degree days accumulation before leaf-fall. The level of increase varies depending upon starting climatic condition, with cooler regions experiencing the greatest change.