The current understanding of the influences of climate, viticultural practices on fruit quality at harvest and sparkling wine quality is reviewed. Factors such as variety, clone, planting density, pruning method, local climate and soils and current and future climate warming are discussed in the context of achieving a desired harvest quality.
A common observation was the relatively less intensive viticultural management applied to grapes destined for sparkling compared to table wines throughout the world.
Few studies have been focused on management of fruit specifically for sparkling wine production. However, given that it is accepted that a low pH, higher titratable acidity and lower soluble sugars than table wine are considered desirable for sparkling wine production, as well as a balanced and specific phenolic profile, the literature from viticultural studies of fruit production for table wines which influence these desired fruit quality parameters has been reported.
Specific findings around canopy management, leaf removal and yield manipulation for the production of table wines indicate potential for application and development to optimize fruit for the production of sparkling wines.
This review has highlighted that fruit quality targets are remarkably uniform across international growing regions but that distinct combinations of variety, clone and management are currently employed to arrive at those targets.
Further, studies of viticultural management, particularly those that alter cluster temperature and exposure to incident light, yield manipulation and fruit quality are likely to best inform production techniques that result in fruit quality ideal for the production of icon sparkling wines.
Further challenges emerge with the need for increasing mechanisation to maintain cost -effective production.
A critical emerging issue is that of climate warming, which is currently challenging for the production of fruit for premium sparkling production with respect to flavour development and high acidity.
A current and increasing trend is the diversification of growing regions to cooler regions that enable the production of high acid fruit and increased exploration of alternative varieties and clones better suited to a warmer climate.
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