Viticulture

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viticulture

[′vid·ə‚kəl·chər]
(agriculture)
That division of horticulture concerned with grape growing, studies of grape varieties, methods of culture, and insect and disease control. Also known as viniculture.

Viticulture

 

(1) A branch of agriculture, the cultivation of grapes. Viticulture supplies the population with fresh and dried grapes and the wine and canning industries with raw material. Thus, viticulture has four production aims: (1) table viticulture—production of fresh grapes for local use, export, and storage; (2) viticulture as the raw-material base for the production of dried grapes—growing currant and raisin varieties; (3) viticulture as the raw-material base of the wine industry—cultivation of wine varieties of grapes to supply raw material for manufacturing plants specializing in production of various types of wine, champagnes, and wine products used in making brandy; and (4) viticulture as the raw-material base for the canning industry—production of raw material for juices (including bekmes), compotes, jams, pickled grapes, and other nonalcoholic products.

Viticulture requires intensive cultivation, large capital investments, and considerable labor input—for example, in the USSR, one hectare (ha) of bearing vineyard requires 200-300 man-hours per year. Viticulture is a profitable branch of agriculture. On a number of Soviet farms where vineyards occupy only 10-15 percent of the total land surface, the profit from viticulture comprises 50-80 percent of the total farm profit. Grapes may be cultivated on lands unsuited for other crops—that is, stony soils and limestones, sand and mildly salted soils, and steep slopes. (Grapes act as a meliorative crop in sand.)

Viticulture began in antiquity. In the Aeneolithic and Bronze ages the wild European grape was brought under cultivation. Viticulture was known in Transcaucasia, Middle Asia, and neighboring regions of western Asia several millennia B.C. In 1968 the total world area under vineyards was approximately 10 million hectares (ha). (Data on some foreign countries are presented in Table 1.) In 1969 the area of vineyard plantings in the USSR was 1,079,000 ha, and the total grape yield was 4,181,000 tons. Principal viticulture regions (in ha) in the USSR in 1969 were the Ukrainian SSR, 303,000; the Moldavian SSR, 239,000; the RSFSR, 163,000; the Azerbaijan SSR, 119,000; the Georgian SSR, 113,000; the Uzbek SSR, 55,000; the Armenian SSR, 37,000; the Kazakh SSR, 18,000; the Tadzhik SSR, 17,000; the Turkmen SSR, 9,000; and the Kirghiz SSR, 6,000. Commercial viticulture has been developed principally in the southern regions of the country. Its northern boundary passes through Kiev, Saratov, Semipalatinsk, and Ussuriisk. Farmstead viti-culture reaches considerably farther north (Moscow, Koz’modem’iansk, and Barnaul). The best regions in the USSR for the production of high-quality table grapes and wine are considered to be the southern Ukrainian SSR (Crimean Oblast), the Moldavian SSR, the RSFSR (Northern Caucasus), and the republics of Transcaucasia and Middle Asia.

Table 1. Area of grape plantings and grape production in foreign countries (1968)
 Area
(hectares)
Production of
table grapes
(centners)
Production of
dried grapes
(centners)
1Approximate data, International Grape and Wine Bureau
Spain ...............1,621,0003,433,00061,000
Italy ...............1,613,0009,205,0006,0001
France ...............1,367,0002,900,000
Turkey ...............830,0008,375,000950,0001
Portugal ...............348,000900,000
Rumania ...............340,0001,591,000
Algeria ...............316,000294,000
Argentina ...............294,0001,111,00045,000
Yugoslavia ...............256,0001,800,000
Hungary ...............236,000744,000
Greece ...............221,0002,040,0001,872,000
Bulgaria ...............203,0003,853,000
USA ...............197,0004,264,000
Chile ...............114,000635,0008,0001
United Arab Republic ...............94,000297,000106,000
Federal Republic of Germany ...............84,000139,000
Syria ...............80,0001,156,00084,000
Iran ...............75,0001300,0001450,0001
Brazil ...............69,0001,500,000
Morocco ...............61,0001,000,000115,0001
Australia ...............57,000297,000868,000

The following types of viticulture are distinguished in the USSR: sheltered (42 percent, according to data for 1968) and unsheltered (58 percent), irrigated (30 percent) and unirri-gated (70 percent), and self-rooted (55 percent) and grafted onto frost-resistant and phylloxera-resistant wildings (45 per-cent). Viticulture is developed on sovkhozes and other government farms (47 percent in 1969), kolkhozes (40 percent), and farmsteads (13 percent).

Regional specialization is very important for obtaining excellent quality in various types of grape and wine production. In the USSR about 85 percent of the total vineyard area is occupied by wine varieties of grapes, including 13 percent hybrid direct producers (varieties obtained by interspecies hybridization of American species and European grapes), 12 percent table varieties, and 3 percent currant and raisin varieties. In all, about 4,000 varieties of European grapes are known; there are approximately 2,000 varieties in the USSR, of which more than 1,500 are local ones. With correct organization, specialized viticulture farms can be successfully combined with other branches of agriculture. Many laborious tasks in viticulture are mechanized: terracing, trenching, planting, interrow hoeing, introduction of fertilizer, covering and uncovering bushes, setting up trellises (artificial supports), harvesting vines, and controlling pests and diseases of grapes, for example. Specialized viticulture sovkhozes and kolkhozes are large (up to 3,000 ha of vineyards) mechanized socialist farms. Mechanization permits lowering the prime cost of production and increasing the profitability of grape culture. In the principal viticulture regions of the USSR, viti-culture sovkhozes are under the supervision of the ministries of agriculture and food industry in their respective republics.

(2) The term “viticulture” also describes the science (a division of horticulture) of the biological properties of grapes and the methods of their cultivation. It is divided into general viticulture, which studies problems of the biology, ecology, and agrotechnology of grapes; specific viticulture, which elaborates the agrotechnology of grapes in various soil and climatic conditions and for various production aims, as well as for growing grapes in hothouses; ampelography (the science of varieties and species of grapes); and grape breeding (development of new varieties). Scientific research on viticulture and winemaking is conducted by the Magarach All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Wine-making and Viticulture, the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Viticulture and Wine-making, the All-Russian Scientific Re-search Institute of Viticulture and Wine-making, republic and regional scientific research institutes of orchard raising and viticulture with a network of experimental stations and substations, the N. I. Vavilov All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Horticulture, appropriate departments in agricultural and food institutes.

Scientific research work on control of pests and diseases of grapes is conducted by special divisions of scientific research establishments on viticulture, at plant-protection stations, at the All-Union Antiphylloxera Scientific Research Station, and the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Plant Protection. Agronomist-viticulturists are trained by agricultural institutes, and specialists of intermediate qualification by technicums and schools of viticulture and winemaking. There are schools that prepare viticulture and wine-making technicians.

Viticulture has made great progress during the Soviet period. A most important work accomplished by the ampelographers of the country under the leadership of the Magarach Institute is the creation of a ten-volume work, Ampelography of the USSR (1946-70), in which 2,600 varieties of grapes are described. Breeders have developed many new varieties of grapes, of which more than 30 are regionalized throughout the Soviet Union. (Uzbekistan, October, Victory, May First, and other muscats are varieties bred by the Vavilov Institute; Armenia, Aragatsi, Tokun, and other varieties were bred by the Armenian Scientific Research Institute of Viticulture, Wine-making, and Fruit-raising; Early Violet, Northern Saperavi, and others are varieties by the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Viticulture and Wine-making; Ruby Magarach and Early Magarach are varieties by the Magarach Institute.) In a number of scientific research institutions work is being conducted to develop varieties resistant to frost and various dis-eases and pests and varieties distinguished by a high trans-portability, long keeping quality, technological properties, and so on. Recommendations have been worked out on the agrotechnical features of certain varieties applicable to various regions of grape cultivation. Journals on viticulture include Vinodelie i vinogradarstvo SSSR (since 1939) and Sadovodstvo, vinogradarstvo i vinodelie Moldavii (since 1946). The International Grape and Wine Bureau, founded in 1924, unites 25 countries (including the USSR); it conducts congresses and sessions and publishes a bulletin.

REFERENCES

Negrul’, A. M. Vinogradarstvo s osnovami ampelografii i selektsii, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1959.
Kniga vinogradaria. Moscow, 1959.
Vinogradarstvo. Moscow, 1960.
Vinogradarstvo Krasnodarskogo kraia. Krasnodar, 1965.
Merzhanian, A. S. Vinogradarstvo, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1967.

A. M. NEGRUL’