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Aim: Grape growers sometimes use cyanamides (calcium or hydrogen) to release bud dormancy in warm climate regions, where the chilling requirement has not been met during winter. However, these products can cause damage to plants and are dangerous to handle, so alternatives would be welcomed by growers. Connections between metabolisms of ethanol, ethylene and cyanide revealed by previous studies led us to test the potential of ethanol sprays on bud break and early shoot growth.
Methods and results: Trials were performed over three years on Vitis vinifera grapevines trained in Guyot or cordon, and on cuttings in growth chambers. Cultivars used in the studies included Cabernet-Sauvignon, Syrah and Ugni blanc. The results show that ethanol can advance bud break of all three cultivars at concentrations ranging from 2.5 to 10 % ethanol in water. Ethanol stimulates bud development in both Guyot and cordon training systems. However, the timing of ethanol application is crucial, and late spring season applications reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
Conclusions: Observations were performed over three different seasons. The trials revealed that ethanol sprays can advance bud break of different Vitis vinifera vines, trained with cane or spur systems.
Significance and impact of the study: Climate change impacts dormancy release, making it an increasingly important issue over the next few decades. An alternative to the dangerous use of cyanamides to promote bud break would greatly help growers. These preliminary results with ethanol are promising but should lead to trials in various growing areas and with various cultivars in order to confirm their potential for viticulture.

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International Viticulture and Enology Society

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.