Background and Aims: The influence of grapevine rootstocks on vine vigour and crop yield is recognized as an integral part of viticultural management. However, the genetic potential of Vitis species rootstock hybrids for vigour and yield control is not fully exploited in Australian viticulture. The effect of 55 novel inter- and intra-species hybrids and five traditional hybrid rootstock cultivars on winter pruning weight, berry size and fruit yield of grafted Shiraz vines is presented. The genetic predictions that resulted from this analysis were used to illustrate how rootstocks that best perform for a combination of traits may be selected.
Methods and Results: The use of linear mixed models and residual maximum likelihood procedures took into account repeated measures and spatial variation within a large field trial (720 vines). Over 6 years of assessment, variation of up to 93.9% in winter pruning weight, 81.9% in fruit yield and 21.0% in berry weight between rootstocks was estimated.
Conclusions: The effect of rootstock genotype accounted for marked differences in conferred pruning weight, berry weight and fruit yield from trial averages. Comparison of statistical analysis techniques illustrated that the choice of such techniques may influence the outcome of genetic selection from field trial data.
Significance of the Study: Such quantification of the variation between vines in vigour, fruit yield and berry size due to rootstock genotype provides a framework for selection of well-performing genotypes for inclusion in advanced generations of the CSIRO vine rootstock breeding program.