New research by the CSIRO has highlighted the potential to regulate grape ripening by manipulating the plant growth regulators (PGRs) that co-ordinate berry development.

This opens up the way for grapegrowers to control the timing of veraison and/or harvest to maximise fruit quality and better suit production schedules.

PGRs are small bioactive molecules that occur naturally in grapes and affect all aspects of berry development from flowering through to ripening. Some also are involved in the plant’s response to stress.

However, PGRs also can be applied to deliberately advance or delay ripening, and their use to control fruit development and to aid fruit storage is common in horticulture and sometimes in other areas of agriculture.

The CSIRO study has demonstrated in both white and red skinned Vitis vinifera cultivars that they can be used successfully without detrimental effects on wine flavor or aroma.

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