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Fall 2011 Depth of Field

Hanging by a thread
Question: Which grapes ripen first on a cluster? The ones on the top? The ones in the middle? The ones on the bottom? The answer is none of the above. The individual grapes mature at different rates, but somehow they all end up ripe. Researchers at Oregon State University are studying what causes immature Pinot noir grapes to eventually catch up with their more developed siblings on the same cluster. At OSU’s Woodhall Vineyard, they’ve looped 2,000 color-coded threads around the base of single grapes to monitor their development. As with teenagers, the researchers suspect they’ll find out that the grapes are controlled by one thing: hormones.
Lynn Ketchum