Published in Wines & Vines
By Yun Zhang and Melissa Hansen
Essential in arid and semiarid grapegrowing regions, irrigation is a management tool used to manipulate yield and enhance the quality of wine grapes.4 However, longstanding myths of the wine industry still have strong influence on irrigation practices—to the detriment of vine health and the wine grape grower’s pocketbook.
The irrigation myth, known as the grape berry or wine-dilution theory, is the belief that late-season irrigation increases berry size and dilutes berry sugars and other quality-related components of the grapes. It is an Old-World irrigation dogma that often results in withholding irrigation from grapevines during fruit ripening for fear water will plump up berry size, and wine quality will suffer. This theory is not supported by science.
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