Vine water status is an important factor in grape quality. High tannin and anthocyanin content in red grape berries are related to moderate vine water deficits. Hence, a simple and sensitive indicator is required to determine vine water status and especially water constraint. Pressure chamber allows a quick and easy to practice determination of water status in the vineyard. Three applications of pressure chamber are known: predawn leaf water potential (ΨB), leaf water potential (ΨF) and stem water potential (ΨT). Only ΨB and ΨF are widely used on vines. In this survey ΨB, ΨF, ΨT and transpiration flow were measured on mature leaves to determine non-irrigated vine water status in field grown vines during the growing season. In California as well as in France, stem Ψ was the most discriminating indicator for both moderate and severe water deficits. In every plot surveyed ΨT was much better correlated to leaf transpiration than ΨF. Moreover, ΨT revealed nascent water deficit earlier than ΨB did. Among the three application of pressure chamber, ΨT was the only one to indicate short term water deficit after a rainfall. Hence, ΨT appears to be a useful indicator for grapevine management in both non-irrigated and irrigated vineyards.
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