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Sources and Assembly of Microbial Communities in Vineyards as a Functional Component of Winegrowing

  • Griggs, Reid G.1
  • Steenwerth, Kerri L.2
  • Mills, David A.1, 3, 4
  • Cantu, Dario1
  • Bokulich, Nicholas A.5
  • 1 Department of Viticulture and Enology, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA , (United States)
  • 2 USDA-ARS, Crops Pathology and Genetics Research Unit, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA , (United States)
  • 3 Department of Food Science and Technology, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA , (United States)
  • 4 Foods for Health Institute, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA , (United States)
  • 5 Laboratory of Food Systems Biotechnology, Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETH Zurich, Zurich , (Switzerland)
Published Article
Frontiers in Microbiology
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Apr 13, 2021
DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.673810
  • Microbiology
  • Review


Microbiomes are integral to viticulture and winemaking – collectively termed winegrowing – where diverse fungi and bacteria can exert positive and negative effects on grape health and wine quality. Wine is a fermented natural product, and the vineyard serves as a key point of entry for quality-modulating microbiota, particularly in wine fermentations that are conducted without the addition of exogenous yeasts. Thus, the sources and persistence of wine-relevant microbiota in vineyards critically impact its quality. Site-specific variations in microbiota within and between vineyards may contribute to regional wine characteristics. This includes distinctions in microbiomes and microbiota at the strain level, which can contribute to wine flavor and aroma, supporting the role of microbes in the accepted notion of terroir as a biological phenomenon. Little is known about the factors driving microbial biodiversity within and between vineyards, or those that influence annual assembly of the fruit microbiome. Fruit is a seasonally ephemeral, yet annually recurrent product of vineyards, and as such, understanding the sources of microbiota in vineyards is critical to the assessment of whether or not microbial terroir persists with inter-annual stability, and is a key factor in regional wine character, as stable as the geographic distances between vineyards. This review examines the potential sources and vectors of microbiota within vineyards, general rules governing plant microbiome assembly, and how these factors combine to influence plant-microbe interactions relevant to winemaking.

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