The aim of the study was to investigate anthocyanin composition and accumulation in grape berries in response to the partial rootzone drying (PRD) irrigation technique.The experiment was on Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet Sauvignon, wherein PRD had a 40% water deficit relative to the control treatment. PRD decreased berry weight compared with the control, but did not influence total anthocyanin concentration. A significant increase in glucosides of delphinidin, cyanidin, petunidin and peonidin was found in response to PRD from the onset of anthocyanin accumulation (veraison), while malvidin-glucosides were unaffected by the irrigation treatment. The PRD treatment did not cause changes in the proportions of acetyl-, 3-p-coumaroyl- and monoglucoside anthocyanins. Wines produced from the treatments showed no difference in total monomeric anthocyanin, but relative increases (15%) in wine colour density, total tannin and polymeric pigment occurred in response to the PRD treatment. The anthocyanin composition of the wines reflected the response shown in the grapes, where the relative contribution of non-malvidin anthocyanins to total anthocyanins was significantly increased in wines from the PRD treatment. The differences in anthocyanin composition observed in response to PRD could not be accounted for by changes in bunch microclimate, and most likely reflect differences in the methylation step of anthocyanin synthesis.The observed changes in anthocyanin composition under the PRD irrigation system have not been previously reported in response to water deficit, and may reflect a unique response to within-vine signalling induced by PRD. (We recommend that you consult the full text of this article.)

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