Pinot noir is currently the highest value wine grape variety in the Eastern US and is among the top cultivated varieties in Ohio (NY Department of Agriculture & Markets 2018, USDA 2017). The variety, however, is known for tight clusters and susceptibility to late-season bunch rot diseases. Recent work has found pre-bloom early leaf removal (ELR) to reduce cluster compactness in tight clustered varieties, while reducing incidence and severity of bunch rot (Acimovic et al. 2017, Hed and Centinari 2018). However, the effects of ELR are variable and highly dependent on variety and localized environmental conditions (Hickey and Wolf 2018). Currently, ELR is considered an experimental practice with little commercial adoption in Ohio.
This proposal seeks to introduce ELR to wine grape producers in Ohio, as well as to further understand the physiological impacts of ELR. One major focus of the research effort will be on validating mechanical leaf removal as a cost-effective means to achieve the benefits of ELR treatments. Additionally, this project will address the diversity of trait expression within the Pinot Noir variety by determining the impacts of ELR on widely planted varietal clones. Importantly, this proposal prioritizes thecreationof extension resources to guide ELR adoption in Ohio.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Provide best practice guidance to Ohio vineyards on the implementation of pre-bloom early leaf removal (ELR) as a management strategy for late season bunch rot diseases.
- Determine the suitability of mechanization for pre-bloom ELR application in Pinot Noir.
- Identify sensitivity differences to ELR application among popular Pinot Noir clones.
- Produce cost-benefit analysis of manual and mechanical ELR application methods.