The Research Line “VitalityWINE” intends to approach the strategic importance of the Vine and Wine sector in economic and social development of the country, highlighting the key role of CITAB as a reference pole in this specific area in the North of Portugal. The present situation of vine and wine sector is highly competitive, mainly due to the emergence of new wine-producing countries, the high quality of the wines produced, the price wars and the rise in vineyard production costs. Under these technological, social and political challenges and advances, mostly negatively exacerbated by global changes, the measurement of the environmental effects and adaptation measures, the improvement of biodiversity in vineyard ecosystems, the enhancement of management procedures to reduce input costs and to increase the sustainability and wine quality, the valorization of vine and wine by-products and the increase of the consciousness of the consumers on the various aspects of wine on well-being are key strategies to reinforce the sector competitiveness and to ensure its consolidation and future growth. This implies new and innovative approaches, involving scientists from agro-meteorology, statistics, biosystems engineering, soil science, viticulture, plant genetics and physiology, molecular biology, pest and diseases, yeast microbiology and enology. In accordance the research plan is divided into five scientific projects each one subdivided into several activities closely interlinked.

The Vitality WINE research line is to develop a multidisciplinary approach that can be a new contribution to overcome the vulnerabilities of Douro Valley viticulture in a changing climate, ensuring the economic and environmental sustainability of the all sector and maintaining the wine typicity attributes and the valorisation of its by-products.

The 5 projects proposed in this Research Line will use advanced methodologies, whose main focus will be in the vineyard functional biodiversity, grapevine performance, grape composition and the key role of microbial communities in pre- and post-harvest grape quality, and finally in by-products valorisation. All measures have the potential to produce relevant scientific and technical production with main interest for the stakeholders. The proposed adaptation practices that will be studied have the potential to be extended to other Mediterranean wine regions once their technical and economic feasibility has been refined and scientifically demonstrated. As such, VitalityWINE aims to lessen the adverse impacts of climate change by supporting timely adaptations in Douro viticulture and, hence, over a longer term, foster resource-efficient economic growth and the job preservation in this economically important sector. The systematic process-based assessment of the links between climate, soils, plant health and viticulture is unprecedented and methodically innovative at a spatial scale which accounts for the needs of climate impact research in the viticultural sector.


ETIS: Laura Torres, João Coutinho Mendes

This Project aims to identify soil management practices that are likely to enhance the functioning of the soil biota of Douro Demarcated Region vineyards, both to support sustainable viticulture and to deliver ecosystem service benefits; also it is intended to develop tools to ensure an effective transfer of knowledge to stakeholders.

Objectives:

  • To understand how the use of compost and biochar in Douro vineyards, have impact on soil functional biodiversity and soil functions such as soil structural maintenance, organic matter and nutrient cycling, and water regulation;
  • To evaluate the impact on ecosystem services such as crop production (vine yield and grape quality parameters), and conservation biological control of pests and diseases;
  • To contribute to the improvement of soil bio-indicators needed to assess the environmental impact of farming practices.

Activity 2.1 The establishment of field trials

Activity 2.2 Grapevine development evaluation

Activity 2.3 Grapevine physiological studies, oxidative stress and antioxidant defense system

Activity 2.4 Use of molecular techniques to analyze the consequence of ROS increased production under stress scenario both at chromosomal and DNA levels

Activity 2.5 Combining high‐throughput omics with biochemical and physiological approaches to identify and characterize biomarkers of berry quality and environmental stress acclimation and adaptation.

Activity 2.6 Yield components and fruit and wine composition

ETIS: José Moutinho Pereira, Maria Cortez, Isaura Castro, José Brito, Virgílio Falco


Activity 3.1 – Grapevine varietal adaptive potential to regional environmental conditions.

Activity 3.2 – Training system adaptive potential to regional environmental conditions.

Activity 3.3 – Characterisation of the vineyard microclimate conditions and crop survival strategies.

Activity 3.4 – Microbiome of Douro vineyards and its adaptive potential to dry and warm conditions.

ETIS: Aureliano Malheiro, Eunice Bacelar, Maria Arlete Faia, Lia Tânia Dinis


Activity 4.1 – Digital vineyard

Design and development of an integrated evolving system for online vineyard monitoring.

  • Data acquisition and communication infrastructure: Development of an easily deployable custom embedded systems, for data acquisition and transmission.
  • Data Communications: There will be two levels of data communications: in-field data communications between sensors and data loggers, and, long-range data communications.
  • Data storage and exporting: Data streams are uploaded to a database server (or cluster of servers) that will store and pre-classify data (e.g. geo-reference). Data will be available on-line;

Activity 4.2 – Grape and vineyard quality assessment

Development of nondestructive methods for vineyard water stress, varieties/clones classification and grape maturity estimation.

  • Vineyard water stress assessment: Water stress evaluation, which is gaining renewed importance in climate changing scenarios, is one of the challenges the north area of Portugal is facing regarding viticulture. In this project hyperspectral imaging and water content sensoring will be used to evaluate grapevine water stress in same commercial vineyards described in Project 2.
  • Varieties/clones classification: Portugal has, probably, the world largest number of indigenous grapevine varieties and each variety can have hundreds of clones. Identifying varieties and clones is relevant for quality management and tracking of grapevine material.
  • Grape maturity estimation: The project will apply local and hyperspectral imaging to assess grape and vineyard quality. Grape maturity will be estimated to better define the harvest date evaluating the grapes sugar content, pH, and anthocyanin concentration. Different grape varieties will be studied, focusing on Portuguese varieties particularly those used throughout Douro region.

ETIS: Pedro Melo, Ana Ferreira, Carlos Serôdio


Activity 5.1 – Quantification of bioactive pesticides, toxins, antinutrients, and  (poly)phenols present in winery by-products by spectrophotometric and chromatographic screening methods;

Activity 5.2 – Assessment of the changes in the identified and quantified compounds during storage and processing;

Activity 5.3 – Identification of the major bioactive phenolic compounds in grape pomace, grape stems, and wine lees, to support rational innovative applications for these materials by food and cosmetic industries;

Activity 5.4 – Development and validation of a multivariate based approach, allowing the straightforward determination of the composition of these residues by solely FTIR (NIR/MIR), in order to immediately evaluate the optimal destination and timing for valorising of these residues;

Activity 5.5 – Design and development of optimal valorisation procedures, according to the specific constitution of each residue.

ETIS: Ana Isabel Barros, Miguel António Rodrigues