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Sci Adv. 2018 Jan 31;4(1):eaao6969. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao6969. eCollection 2018 Jan.

Drought will not leave your glass empty: Low risk of hydraulic failure revealed by long-term drought observations in world's top wine regions.

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Bordeaux Science Agro, Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin, Ecophysiologie et Génomique Fonctionnelle de la Vigne, UMR 1287, F-33140 Villenave d'Ornon, France.
Biodiversité Gènes et Communautés, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Université Bordeaux, 33610 Cestas, France.
Bordeaux Sciences Agro, UMR 1391 Interactions Sol Plante Atmosphère, INRA, 1 Cours du General de Gaulle, Gradignan Cedex 33175, France.
Université Clermont Auvergne, INRA, Physique et Physiologie Intégratives de l'Arbre en environnement Fluctuant, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Santé et Agroécologie du VignoblE, Bordeaux Sciences Agro, INRA, 33140 Villenave d'Ornon, France.
Synchrotron Source Optimisée de Lumière d'Energie Intermédiaire du LURE, L'Orme de Merisiers, Saint Aubin-BP48, Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.
INRA, UE0999, Unité expérimentale de Pech Rouge, 11430 Gruissan, France.
Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Mendoza, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria, Luján de Cuyo (5507), Mendoza, Argentina.
Fruition Sciences SAS, MIBI 672 rue du Mas de Verchant, 34000 Montpellier, France.
Terra Spase, 345 La Fata Street, Suite D, St. Helena, CA 94574, USA.


Grapevines are crops of global economic importance that will face increasing drought stress because many varieties are described as highly sensitive to hydraulic failure as frequency and intensity of summer drought increase. We developed and used novel approaches to define water stress thresholds for preventing hydraulic failure, which were compared to the drought stress experienced over a decade in two of the world's top wine regions, Napa and Bordeaux. We identified the physiological thresholds for drought-induced mortality in stems and leaves and found small intervarietal differences. Long-term observations in Napa and Bordeaux revealed that grapevines never reach their lethal water-potential thresholds under seasonal droughts, owing to a vulnerability segmentation promoting petiole embolism and leaf mortality. Our findings will aid farmers in reducing water use without risking grapevine hydraulic integrity.

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