The grapevine is thought to originate in the Caucasus and western Asia, and it was probably already harvested in the Paleolithic. It is certain that there existed wild grapevines during the Tertiary Age. During the Neolithic period (6000 B. C.) the culture of the grapevine was initiated in Asia Minor and the Near East. They gradually selected the species with better production, until they obtained the current grapevines, of great fruit. The Egyptians knew the grapevine, but the Greeks and the Romans where the ones who developed its culture to a greater extent, spreading it all over the Roman Europe. The Spaniards introduced this crop in North America. As new lands were colonized, the grape was taken along, so that now it is cultivated on all continents and islands where the climate is favorable. At present, Europe is the main producing continent. It is followed by Asia. The areas with a smaller amount of grape cultivation are Africa and Oceania.
The grapevine belongs to the family of Vitaceous and the genus Vitis. It is a climbing plant. Vitis comprises about 60 to 80 species of vining plants, native to the north temperate zone, including varieties that may be eaten as table fruit, dried to produce raisins, or crushed to make grape juice or wine. The vine is a climbing shrub with irregular natural growth habit, generally determined by the type of farming, it is a deciduous species that goes dormant during the winter. Ordinarily, since the propagation is performed for the vegetative parts (cuttings grafted), the vine roots are only collated, affecting mainly the layer of soil between 30 and 80 cm from the surface. The trunk, also called stem or strain, is the support of the plant and can be more or less developed depending on the form of rearing. The strain is coated from a bark, the ritidoma. The leaves, with a long stalk, are large and palmate, with flap whole or divided into 3-5 lobes, green in color more or less intense depending on the variety, while the underside is lighter and can be covered with hair. The inflorescence is a cluster. Usually, on a shoot there are 1 to 3 bunches, after the last cluster in the same position, you distribute the tendrils or cirri which are bodies which have a development spiral, helical and allow the ‘ anchoring bud to a support of any nature. The cluster is made up of a central axis of said spine, on which are inserted lateral branching, said bunches, which carry the flowers. The flower is hermaphrodite in most of the vines (grape varieties). The fruit is a berry, also known as grape. The color varies, depending on the grape variety, from green to yellow, pink to red-violet color, from black or bluish black. The peel or skin is rich in coloring matter, tannic and aromatic. The pulp or mesocarp consists of large thin-walled cells, from which we extract the juice rich in sugars and organic acids. The endocarp is usually constituted by 4 seeds or seeds that were not formed in seedless grapes.
The annual cycle of the vine is divided into vegetative and reproductive. The first includes the steps of crying, shoot growth, the formation of the leaves, while the main reproductive growth stages are flowering, fruit set, fruit growth and ripening.
The exposures to the north are indicated in hot-arid regions, while those to the south are suitable in northern environments or at high altitudes where temperatures may be limiting. The vine is not very sensitive to cold winter in resting phase, in fact most of the cultivars in good vegetative condition is able to withstand temperatures of – 15 °C (5 °F) during the winter rest with a different degree of resistance associated with vine, depending on the area of origin. The thermal needs are growing by budding (8-10 °C / 46.4-50 °F), at flowering (18-22 °C / 64.4-71.6 °F) and up to veraison (22-26 °C / 71.6-78.8 °F), while reducing at maturation (20-24 °C / 68-75.2 °F) and in harvest period (18-22 °C / 64.4-71.6 °F). The land located under the slopes are considered better than those places in the plains since, particularly in central and northern, could lead to problems of waterlogging, spring frosts due to downward flow of cold air. Grapes are adapted to a wide range of soils, ranging from blow sands to clay loams, from shallow to very deep soils, from highly calcareous to noncalcareous soils, and from very low to high fertility. The soils most suitable for the cultivation of the vine are those medium-textured, well-drained, while the land less suitable are those compact wet clay cold, salty and “tired” or soils which have already hosted a vineyard, on which you make a replanting.
Fertilization has the aim to provide nutrients to the plants to meet their nutritional needs and reinstate the annual removals.
Nitrogen is usually the most limiting element for grapevine growth and yield. When nitrogen is low in the vineyard, there is reduced shoot growth that leads to reduced canopy fill, reduced light interception, and reduced photosynthetic efficiency and ultimately reduced yields in the current season. When there is excess nitrogen in the vineyard the vines exhibit excessive vegetative growth leading to mutual shading within the grapevine canopy reducing fruit quality in the current season and bud fruitfulness in the upcoming year.
The phosphorus is important in that it favors the energy transfer processes inside the cells and between the organs of the vine, also provides perfumes to wine. Inside the plant, it moves to areas of high metabolic activity. The lack of this element impairs the growth of the vine.
Potassium is involved in the regulation of water flows within the plant, osmotic agent is a very important part in the ion exchange and especially in perspiration, as it controls the opening of the stomata, it is a very mobile element within the plant and promotes the accumulation of sugars in the berries.
In a vineyard may occur micronutrient deficiencies such as iron and boron, in the first case there is a yellowing leaf chlorosis which consists of the veins that remain green, the plant has a poor fruiting of the grapes, the main damage caused by a Boron deficiency is millerandage.
The crop also benefits from the application of products with a biostimulant action to improve the availability of nutrients in the soil, to increase the yield from a quantitative and qualitative standpoint and to reduce the negative impact of climatic stresses. The application of biostimulants increases the environmental and economic sustainability of the production system.