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Amino acid composition of grape (Vitis vinifera L.) juice in response to applications of urea to the soil or foliage.

Hannam, K.D., Neilsen, G.H., Neilsen, D., Midwood, A., Millard, P., Zhang, Z., Thornton, B., and Steinke, D. (2016). "Amino acid composition of grape (Vitis vinifera L.) juice in response to applications of urea to the soil or foliage.", American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 67(1), pp. 47-55. doi : 10.5344/ajev.2015.15015  Access to full text


Applications of nitrogen to vineyard foliage or soil at veraison can improve grape juice yeast assimilable nitrogen concentrations and may prevent the excessive vine growth, delayed maturity, and adverse changes in fruit properties sometimes associated with high applications of N earlier in the growing season. However, the consequences of late-season foliar- and soil-applied nitrogen for grape juice yeast assimilable nitrogen (YAN) and, specifically, grape juice amino acid profiles have rarely been directly compared. Over two years in drip-irrigated Merlot and Pinot gris vineyards, grape juice amino acid concentrations were measured from vines to which urea had been applied three times around veraison at 3.8 g N/vine to either the foliage or the soil surface. Foliar-applied urea (applied as a 2% w/v solution) was usually more effective at boosting grape juice ammonium and amino acid concentrations, although soil-applied urea improved some grape juice amino acids at the Pinot gris site. Changes in the amino acid profiles of grape juice, observed in response to foliar N applications but not soil N applications, may have implications for wine quality. Applications of 15N-labeled urea at the Pinot gris site demonstrated that a greater percentage of fertilizer N was incorporated into grape juice amino acids when urea was applied to the foliage than when it was applied to the soil surface. Late-season foliar applications of urea are a reliable, efficient, and effective method of improving grape juice YAN. Further work is required to examine how treatment effects vary among sites and cultivars under different management practices and to understand the implications of altered grape juice amino acid profiles for wine quality.

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