Field studies were conducted on Vitis vinifera L. cvs. Cabernet franc and Merlot to evaluate the effects of basal leaf removal timing and severity on 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine (IBMP) concentration in grape berries. Treatments consisted of removing either 50% or 100% of leaves from the fruiting zone at either 10 days after anthesis, 40 days after anthesis, or 60 days after anthesis. In the second year of the Cabernet franc study, a 15-day postveraison leaf removal treatment was also included. In both years of the Cabernet franc study, significant reductions in IBMP (range = 28 to 53%) were observed before veraison compared with the control in both 10 days after anthesis treatments (50% and 100% leaf removal). In 2007, all leaf removal treatments significantly reduced IBMP concentrations compared with the control (46 to 88%) in Cabernet franc berries at harvest, with the greatest reduction observed in the 100% leaf removal treatments at 10 days after anthesis and 40 days after anthesis. In 2008, the 100% leaf removal treatment at 10 days after anthesis and the 50 and 100% leaf removal treatments at 40 days after anthesis significantly reduced IBMP concentrations (34 to 60%) in mature Cabernet franc berries. In the Merlot trial, all leaf removal treatments significantly reduced IBMP concentrations (38 to 52%) at harvest. In summary, early season (10 to 40 day after anthesis) basal leaf removal reduced IBMP accumulation preveraison compared with the control in both studies, suggesting that early leaf removal is a more effective management strategy to reduce IBMP accumulation in grape berries than leaf removal later in the season.
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