Grape (Vitis spp.)-Botrytis Bunch Rot

PNW Plant Handbook Article Image
Close-up of Botrytis sp. spores.
PNW Plant Disease Image

Botrytis sporulating on these infected berries.

PNW Plant Handbook Article Image
Note the brown sporulation typical of this fungus.
PNW Plant Handbook Article Image
Note the tattered leaf due to hail injury, and the water soaked margin of necrotic tissue.

Cause This disease is common on the west side of the Cascade Range but a sporadic problem in the arid viticulture regions of the PNW.

Many fungal and bacterial organisms, of which Botrytis cinerea is the most important, can infect grapes and result in a bunch rot. B. cinerea has a large host range and grows and sporulates on most of them. The fungus overwinters and oversummers as black sclerotia on old cluster stems, canes, and mummified grapes. Spores spread by wind. Young, succulent shoots can be infected in spring, especially if injured by hail. Flower parts frequently are infected and can serve as a source of the fungus within the developing cluster. Inflorescences are susceptible to infection at the start of flowering through fruit set. Wet weather favors infection and disease development, especially near harvest when canopies are dense and berries accumulate sugar. The fungus can quickly spread from berry to berry within ripening bunches and can develop readily on wounded or split berries.

Botrytis cinerea will infect grape berries from 53°F to 86°F with as little as 4 hours of berry wetness. The number of berries infected; however, rises as hours of berry wetness increases. A forecasting program assigns a medium bunch rot risk at 60°F with 15 hours of berry wetness but a high risk if berries have been wet 17.5 hours. Fungicides are to be applied after a medium risk during the growing season. This program has not been evaluated in the Pacific Northwest.

Removal of leaves adjacent to clusters aids in management of both bunch rot and powdery mildew by making the microclimate less favorable for disease development and allowing for increased fungicide coverage of the cluster. Exact timing of leaf removal will depend on geography and vineyard management. Chance of sunburn increases the later leaves are removed and during extreme heat events.

'Cabernet Sauvignon' is the least susceptible wine grape grown in Oregon. 'Gewurtztraminer' is less susceptible than 'Chardonnay', 'Pinot Noir', and 'Riesling'. Bunches that are more tight or compact are at higher risk of the disease.

Under certain environmental conditions, white grapes infected solely by B. cinerea may develop a special rot known as noble rot. These grapes are used to produce a special, very sweet wine.

Symptoms Young shoots and leaves may be infected in spring and develop brown, water-soaked areas. These areas generally girdle the shoot, causing it to wilt and die back. The characteristic gray moldy growth may or may not be present.

Generally, rotted berries appear in late summer and autumn as small, brown spots on maturing berries. The berry skin may slip off easily when rubbed. Later, characteristic tufts of gray fungal growth appear on the surface of infected berries. Often, rotted berries are near the center of the bunch. The rot then spreads quickly and may encompass most of the bunch. Other organisms may invade the berries later, producing a large variety of colors, smells, and tastes. Occasionally, immature berries may develop a soft brown rot early in summer.

Cultural control

  • Remove leaves adjacent to clusters at fruit set (BBCH 71) to pea-sized (BBCH 75) stage, which also aids in spray penetration and coverage. Removing leaves before BBCH 71 may decrease fruit set and yield, and after BBCH 75 may be ineffective for Botrytis control. Avoid sunburn by removing only the morning-sun side (east or north) of the canopy. Earlier and more leaf removal may be required for vigorous vines with dense canopies.
  • Use an appropriate trellising system to increase aeration and sun exposure.
  • Avoid excessive vegetative growth through rootstock selection and management, irrigation management, and judicious use of nitrogen fertilizer.
  • If adjusting yields by dropping fruit, consider removal of clusters that are in contact with other clusters.
  • Manage powdery mildew as it predisposes berries to infection through the establishment of microscopic wounds on the fruit surface.
  • Select varietal clones with loose cluster architecture.

Chemical control Spray during bloom and beginning of fruit set (BBCH 60 to 69), just before berry touch (BBCH 77), start of veraison (BBCH 81), and 3 weeks before harvest before rain is expected. Focus more on applications before rain storms rather than at vine growth stage. Fungal strains resistant to site specific chemicals can develop quickly. To delay or prevent building up resistant fungi, tank-mix products from different groups with different modes of action. Also, limit applications from any specific group to two (2) or fewer sprays.

  • Botran 5F at 1.2 quarts/A. Fruit marking can occur on some cultivars when combined with sulfur. Do not use within 14 days of harvest. Effectiveness is considered low. Group 14 fungicide. 14 days reentry.
  • Captan 80 WDG at 2.5 lbs/A. Do not apply more than 24 lb/A/year. May be applied up to the day of harvest. Do not use with oils, lime, or alkaline materials. Contact your grape buyer before application, as several wineries and/or countries will not allow its use. Rated moderate in effectiveness. Group M4 fungicide. 3 day reentry.
  • Copper-based products are registered but offer only slight control. Group M1 fungicide. O
  • Elevate 50 WDG at 1 lb/A. Do not use more than 3 lb/A/season. Can be used up to and including the day of harvest. Good control. Group 17 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Endura at 8 oz/A. Do not use more than two (2) times per year or within 14 days of harvest. Do not use for bunch rot management if you use Pristine for powdery mildew. Group 7 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Fracture (BLAD) at 24.4 to 36.6 fl oz/A. Reapply if rain occurs within 12 hours of original application. Do not use within one day of harvest. 4-hr reentry.
  • Iprodione-based products. Do not apply more than two (2) applications per season or within 7 days of harvest for wine grapes. Good control when resistance is not a problem. Group 2 fungicides. 48-hr reentry.
    • Iprodione 4L AG at 1 to 2 pint/A.
    • Meteor at at 1 to 2 pint/A.
    • Nevado 4F at 1 to 2 pint/A.
    • Rovral 4 Flowable at 1 to 2 pint/A.
  • JMS Stylet Oil at 1 to 2 gal/100 gal water. Tank-mix with another fungicide. Necrotic foliage may result if applied within 10 days of any sulfur application. Do not tank-mix with copper-based products when fruit is present. Do not use during freezing temperatures, above 90°F, or when plants are under heat or moisture stress. Do not use when foliage is wet because good coverage is essential. Slightly effective alone. 4-hr reentry. O
  • Kenja 400 SC at 20 to 22 fl oz/A. Do not use within 14 days of harvest. Group 7 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Luna Privilege at 6.84 fl oz/A. Do not use on 'Concord' or within 7 days of harvest. Group 7 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Mancozeb products such as Dithane, Manzate Pro-Stick or Penncozeb at 1.5 to 2.5 lb/A. Do not use within 66 days of harvest or more than 7.5 lb/A/season. It is registered but considered ineffective. Group M3 fungicides. 24-hr reentry.
  • Oso SC at 3.75 to 13 fl oz/A. Do not use within 7 days of harvest. Group 19 fungicide. 4-hr reentry.
  • Ph-D WDG at 6.2 oz/A. Do not make more than three (3) applications/A/season. May be applied on the day of harvest. Rated fair to good in effectiveness. Group 19 fungicide. 4-hr reentry.
  • Protexio SC at 14.5 to 19 fl oz/A. Do not use within 3 days of harvest. Group 17 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Scala SC at 18 fl oz/A alone or 9 fl oz/A in a tank-mix. Do not apply more than 36 oz/A/season or within 7 days of harvest. Good control. Group 9 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Topsin M WSB at 1 to 1.5 lb/A plus another fungicide. Do not use within 14 days of harvest or more than 4 lb/A/season. Resistant fungi, which make this product ineffective, are widespread in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Group 1 fungicide. 2-day reentry.
  • Vangard 75 WG at 10 oz/A when used alone or at 5 to 10 oz/A when tank-mixing with another fungicide. Buffer to a pH of 5 to 7 when tank-mixing with Rovral. Do not use more than 30 oz/A/season or within 7 days of harvest. More effective at cooler temperatures. Good effectiveness rating when used alone. Group 9 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Ziram 76 DF at 3 to 4 lb/A. Do not use within 10 days of harvest. Effectiveness is considered low. Group M3 fungicide. 48-hr reentry.

Combination Fungicides

  • Inspire Super at 16 to 20 fl oz/A. Do not use for bunch rot control if it was used for powdery mildew. Do not use within 14 days of harvest or on 'Concord'. Group 3 + 9 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Luna Experience at 8 to 8.6 fl oz/A. Do not use for bunch rot control if already used for powdery mildew control. Do not use on 'Concord' or within 14 days of harvest. Group 3 + 7 fungicide. 10-day reentry.
  • Luna Tranquility at 16 to 24 fl oz/A. Do not use for bunch rot control if already used for powdery mildew control. Do not use on 'Concord' or within 7 days of harvest. Group 7 + 9 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Pristine can be used at 18.5 to 23 oz/A. Do not use more than two (2) consecutive applications, within 14 days of harvest, or more than three (3) times/year. Do not use on labrusca type grapes such as 'Concord' due to possible foliar injury. Do not use for bunch rot control if it was used for powdery mildew. Group 7 + 11 fungicide. 12-hr or 5-day reentry based on activity.
  • Switch 62.5 WG at 11 to 14 oz/A. Do not use an adjuvant or within 7 days of harvest. Good control. Group 9 + 12 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.

Notes Some registered products offer only suppression of this disease and thus are not recommended for use. These products include Abound, Adament, Quadris Top, Sovran, Tebucon, and Unicorn.

Although registered, Distinguish is unavailable for purchase or use.

Biological control Many different organisms have been shown to be effective under controlled conditions. Sometimes they can be shown to be effective in the vineyard under low to moderate disease pressure. Combine with cultural tactics for best effectiveness.

  • Botector (Aureobasidium pullulans strains DSM 14940 and 14941) at 5 to 10 oz/A depending on water volume. Can be applied day of harvest. Compatible with sulfurs, oils and a few fungicides but not with many synthetic fungicides. 4-hr reentry. O
  • DoubleNickel 55 (Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain D747) at 0.25 to 3 lb/A. Unknown efficacy. 4-hr reentry. O
  • Serenade ASO (Bacillus subtilis strain QST 713) at 2 to 6 quarts/A plus an adjuvant. Active ingredient is a small protein. Variable efficacy in tests in western Oregon. May be applied up to and including day of harvest. Serenade Garden Disease Control is available for home use. 4-hr reentry. H O
  • Zen-O-Spore (Ulocladium oudemansii strain U3) at 2 to 4 lb/A. Unknown efficacy. 4-hr reentry. O

Growth Regulation A single application will help elongate the rachis for a more open clusters, better air circulation and pesticide coverage. Yield reduction may occur!

  • ProGibb 4% at 1 to 2 oz/100 gal water/A for Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. Other rates are listed but are dependent on cultivar type. Apply before 3 weeks before bloom. 12-hr reentry. O

References Ciliberti, N., Fermaud, M., Languasco, L., and Rossi, V. 2015. Influence of Fungal Strain, Temperature, and Wetness Duration on Infection of Grapevine Inflorescences and Young Berry Clusters by Botrytis cinerea. Phytopathology, 105:325-333.

Elmer, P.A.G. and Reglinski, T. 2006. Biosuppression of Botrytis cinerea in grapes. Plant Pathology 55:155-177.

Hed, B., Ngugi, H.K., and Travis, J.W. 2011. Use of gibberellic acid for management of bunch rot on Chardonnay and Vignoles grape. Plant Dis. 95:269-278.