International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 853–864

Grape harvest and yield responses to inter-annual changes in temperature and precipitation in an area of north-east Spain with a Mediterranean climate

Original Paper

Abstract

This study presents an analysis of temperature and precipitation trends and their impact on grape harvests in the Penedès region (NE Spain). It includes analyses of maximum, minimum and mean daily temperatures (for both the growing and ripening seasons) and daily rainfall (for the hydrological year, the growing season and each phenological stage) for three observatories in the immediate area. We analysed a series of factors: beginning and end harvest dates; the day on which a given potential alcoholic degree was reached; and yield for several varieties of grape grown in the area in relation to climatic variables. Maximum temperatures increased at all the observatories, with greater values being recorded in recent years (1996–2009) than in previous decades (1960s–2000s): we observed increases in average growing season temperatures of 0.11°C per year for the period 1996–2009 vs 0.04°C per year for the period 1960–2009 at Vilafranca del Penedès. These temperature changes were due mainly to increases in maximum temperatures and an increase in the incidence of extreme heat (number of days with T > 30°C). Crop evapotranspiration also increased significantly during the same period. The Winkler index also increased, so the study area would correspond to region IV according to that climatic classification. There were no significant trends in annual rainfall but rainfall recorded between bloom and veraison decreased significantly at the three observatories, with the greatest decrease corresponding to the period 1996–2009. The dates on which harvests started and ended showed a continuous advance (of between −0.7 and −1.1 days per year, depending on the variety), which was significantly correlated with the average mean and maximum daily growing season temperatures (up to −7.68 days for 1°C increase). Winegrape yield was influenced by the estimated water deficit (crop evapotranspiration minus precipitation) in the bloom-veraison period; this value increased due to a reduction in precipitation and an increase in evapotranspiration. Yield may have been reduced by up to 30 kg/ha for each millimetre increase in the estimated water deficit. Under these conditions, new strategies need to be followed in this area in order to maintain grape quality and yield.

Keywords

Bioclimatic index Climate change Phenology Probable alcoholic degree Vine 

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Copyright information

© ISB 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environment and Soil ScienceUniversity of LleidaLleidaSpain

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