A Lumpkin County, Georgia, research plot was harvested recently, said Clark MacAllister, a UGA Extension agent. This plot of grapes was harvested early because it is being used for a sparkling wine program, he said.
This research, which included leaf pulling, was conducted on the chardonnay variety. Chardonnay was used in this trial since it tends to have high levels of disease and grows in compacted clusters, MacAllister explained.
Leaf-pulling lets more sun into the plants and allows more airflow. MacAllister said this can help the fruit ripen better.
Numbers from this trial will be calculated to determine cluster weight of the grapes, as well as disease resistance and fruit chemistry, including sugar levels in the fruit, he said.
Sour rot is one of the diseases that will be tested for at the end of this study to see if leaf-pulling helped chardonnay’s resistance to this disease. Final numbers and findings for this study will be available in fall 2017, when the final impact of this research study is calculated, MacAllister said.
This was the first plot harvested for the season. There are other research plots in Georgia that will continue to be researched and harvested. Many of these research plots will also be examining resistance to disease based on different environments and various trellising systems.
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