Determining the Impacts of Dormant Pruning Methods and Nitrogen Fertilization on Pinot Noir Bud Fruitfulness and Yield

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2018: $22,786.00
Projected End Date: 03/30/2020
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Graduate Student:
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Patricia Skinkis
Oregon State University


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Crop Production: fertilizers, nutrient management, dormant pruning
  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research

    Proposal abstract:

    Vineyard sustainability requires attention to cultural practices and the labor to implement them in order to remain economically viable. Crop yield and quality are also major determinants of economic viability and need to be evaluated in sustainable vineyard systems. Currently grape growers in Oregon are faced with narrow profit margins as the cost to produce wine grapes is high due to 1) low yields and 2) significant manual labor required to implement cultural practices in the small family vineyards in the state. We propose exploring alternative vineyard management practices that may boost yield and/or improve manual labor efficiency in Oregon vineyards. Two field experiments will separately evaluate dormant pruning practices and nitrogen fertilization.

    Many Oregon vineyards are cane pruned rather than spur pruned, as yield is thought to be reduced due to unfruitfulness of basal buds left during spur pruning. In terms of nitrogen fertilization, it is often avoided to prevent excess vine growth which can cause reduced wine quality, but vines are often N-deficient and lead to other wine quality issues such as low N in fruit. In order to aide growers in making management decisions that may enhance yield and contribute to the overall sustainability and economic viability of their vineyard, we will study the impacts pruning practices and nitrogen fertilization have on Pinot noir bud fruitfulness, a component of yield. This research will be used to develop guidelines for growers in the region to produce more consistent yields over time while also fine-tuning practices that may effectively manage nutrient and labor inputs.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1: Determine how yield potential and final harvest yields are affected by cane and spur pruning.

    Sub Objective 1: Compile labor efficiency data from collaborating growers to help realize the differences in observation between the two pruning methods. 

    Objective 2: Determine how nitrogen fertilization of an N-deficient vineyard impacts yield potential (fruitfulness and fruit set) and final harvest yields.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.