Journal article
Conversion to organic and biodynamic viticultural practices: impact on soil, grapevine development and grape quality

Publication Details
Meissner, G.; Athmann, M.; Fritz, J.; Kauer, R.; Stoll, M.; Schultz, H.
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Aim: The effects of integrated, organic and biodynamic
management on soil quality and the growth and morphological development
of Riesling grapevines were assessed during the first 4 years of a
long-term field trial in Geisenheim, Germany. The overall aim was to
understand the effects of these different viticultural practices on soil
quality and plant morphology as the basis for product quality.
Methods and results:
As indicators of soil quality, earthworm abundance and the activity of
selected enzymes were assessed. The vegetative and reproductive
development of the grapevines, as well as their susceptibility to fungal
diseases in the field, wood and grape composition, and grape yield,
were investigated. Individual variables were subjected to analysis of
variance. Additionally, all variables were subjected to multivariate
principal component analysis. Compared with plots under integrated
management, plots under the two biological treatments were characterized
by higher soil quality and lower vegetative growth and grape yield, and
therefore higher exposure of grapes and lower grape cluster
compactness, and, probably as a result of these morphological
differences, lower incidence of acetic acid rot. Principal component
analysis clearly differentiated the three treatments, and showed that
biodynamic management had more pronounced effects than organic
management in terms of enhanced soil fertility and reduction of
vegetative growth.
Conclusions: In the present
study, organic and especially biodynamic management resulted in a
morphology favouring production of high-quality grapes. The treatments
differed in terms of fertilization and plant protection methods as well
as choice of cover crops. Therefore, further research is necessary with
respect to root growth and the nitrogen and water uptake dynamics of
vines and cover crops. The differences between grapes produced under
organic and biodynamic management emphasize the need for more research
on the mode of action of biodynamic preparations.
Significance and impact of the study:
In recent years, both winegrowers and consumers have expressed steadily
growing interest in organic and especially biodynamic wine production.
The present study contributes to a better understanding of the effects
on grapevine growth and morphological development of shifting to these
methods as a way to increase product quality.


Last updated on 2019-12-12 at 11:40