Exploring the influence of climate change on the microbial wine terroir, from vineyard soil to high quality wine (CLIMAVIN)

Projet de recherche BL/34/C-SA01 (Action de recherche BL)

Personnes :

  • Prof. dr.  HAMDI Rafik - Institut Royal Météorologique de Belgique (IRM)
    Partenaire financé belge
    Durée: 1/6/2021-31/5/2024
  • Prof. dr.  CRAUWELS Sam - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven)
    Partenaire financé belge
    Durée: 1/6/2021-31/5/2024

Description :

The global wine industry is a multi-billion-dollar global industry. Viticulture has a long-standing tradition in South Africa and the sector accounts for 2.35 Billion US dollar to the (GDP) to the economy. China is the second biggest grape growing producer (8.65 million hectares) and the 10th biggest wine producing country (OIV, 2019). Wine industry is developing fast with important environmental and social interests. Belgian viticulture is limited but substantially expanding in recent years. Between 2014 and 2017, the number of active wine producers in Belgium increased from 33 to 129, while the area for wine production almost doubled (from 192 to 341 ha and accounts for the contribution of 5.464 US dollar to the GDP. Due to increasing pressure from climate change, a need to remain sustainable and produce unique wine styles are essential.

Wine quality is determined by the chemical composition and sensory characteristics, which is derived from the terroir. This can be defined as an interactive cultivated ecosystem, in a given place, including climate, soil, and the biology of the vine and more recently microbial flora that coexists with the plant may be one of the key factors that influence these traits (Seguin, 1986; Van Leeuwen, 2010). Vine-associated microbiomes or the microbial terroir, may play specific roles in the productivity and disease resistance of their host plant.The microbiota of the grapes is highly variable, mostly due to the influence of external factors as environmental parameters, geographic allocation, grape cultivars and application of phytochemicals on the vineyards ;The concept of terroir is an important aspect of consumer acceptance, of identity, and of economic appreciation of wine production. Climate change is introducing extended and higher extremes of change with unknown consequences on the stability and resilience of the holobiont (the plant and other species living in and around it). Therefore, better understanding of microbial traits that confer ecosystem resilience to climate change is needed for predicting and managing ecosystem responses to climate change. The project will investigate grapevine agronomical potential of Chardonnay and Pinot noir grape and wine microbiome between the 3 new world wine producing countries under different climatic indices.

Specific aims:
(i) Meteorological characterizing on vineyard level
(ii) Evaluate climate effects on grapevine functioning at: macro, meso and micro-scale
(iii) Assess the microbial diversity occurring on the grapevine structures (root, leaves and grapes)
(iv) Assess the effects on grape growth and quality as well as wine typicality
(v) Linking meteorological, microbiome and grape characteristics through chemometric modeling for uncovering the mechanisms how terroir shapes wine quality.