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Enhancement of grape berry weight induced by an ethanol spray four weeks before harvest and effects of a night spray at an earlier date

C. Chervin A G , S. Savocchia B C , M. Krstic D , E. Serrano E and R. van Heeswijck B F
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A UMR 990, Génomique et Biotechnologie des Fruits, INRA-INP/ENSA Toulouse, BP 107, 31326 Castanet, France.

B School of Agriculture and Wine, The University of Adelaide, PMB 1, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

C National Wine and Grape Industry Centre, School of Wine and Food Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia.

D Sunraysia Horticultural Centre, PO Box 905, Mildura, Vic. 3502, Australia.

E ITV France Midi-Pyrénées, BP 22, 81310 Lisle sur Tarn, France.

F Deceased 5 September 2003.

G Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 45(6) 731-734
Submitted: 18 July 2003  Accepted: 20 July 2004   Published: 29 June 2005


Spraying aqueous solutions of ethanol (between 2.5 and 10%, v/v) 1 month before harvest has been shown to increase berry weight of Cabernet Sauvignon by about 10% at harvest compared with controls sprayed with water. These observations were made in France and in Australia. The increase in berry weight was not associated with significant changes in total soluble solids. Additional measurements showed that spraying aqueous solutions of ethanol onto the berry surface 1 month before harvest had only small effects on the colour of berry skin extracts. In another trial, spraying ethanol at night 1 month earlier than other trials lead to a slight increase in the colour of the skin extracts. Optimisation of the spraying conditions is discussed.


We acknowledge the Domaine de Candie, Toulouse, and Adam Steer (Hardy Wine Co., Australia) for providing trial sites and spray machinery. Thanks to Ben Stodart and Steve Choimes (University of Adelaide) for providing assistance with the grape berry and juice preparation for analyses. We also acknowledge visiting fellowships granted by the French Embassy in Canberra to Robyn van Heeswijck and Christian Chervin. Finally, thanks to anonymous referees for fruitful comments.


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