Multi-annual comparisons demonstrate differences in the bunch rot susceptibility of nine Vitis vinifera L. 'Riesling' clones
Botrytis bunch rot is a major fungal disease of grapevines, and causes severe economic damage worldwide. Under humid climatic conditions, the development of bunch rot on grapes cannot be suppressed completely. Selection of planting material with lower bunch rot susceptibility represents one of the most efficient long-term tools in the complex bunch rot minimisation strategy. The present investigation conducted over four consecutive years (2013-2016) under the environmental conditions of the Moselle valley aimed at (i) detecting consistent differences in the bunch rot susceptibility within a group of nine commercially available Vitis vinifera L. 'White Riesling' clones, (ii) investigating potential underlying causes and (iii) deriving recommendations for 'Riesling' clone selection in practical viticulture. Disease severity and grape maturity (total soluble solids) progress could be well simulated by sigmoidal curves (R2 > 0.89; P < 0.038). On average of all four years, the dates when 5 % bunch rot disease severity were reached differed significantly by 9 days between the clone with the earliest epidemic (Trier 34) and the clone with the latest epidemic (Heinz 65). Multi-annual results enabled a classification of the nine clones according to (i) their relative bunch rot susceptibility as well as (ii) their relative precocity. Based on this, practical recommendations concerning a targeted clone selection as an integral long-term tool (i) in Integrated Pest Management contributing to pesticide reduction in viticulture as well as (ii) in the viticultural climate change adaptation strategy were derived.