Bruno Holzapfel

Research interests

  • Vine nutrition: irrigation and nutrient management, root development and function, nutrient uptake and reserves, interaction with carbohydrate metabolism, root influence on vine performance
  • Carbohydrate physiology: carbohydrate reserve accumulation, reproductive development and vine productivity, vine partitioning and photosynthesis, management of yield and fruit composition
  • Vine environment and development: berry ripening and composition, climate variability and climate change, vineyard management and rootstocks, grape variety adaptability


Bruno was appointed to NSW Agriculture* in 1996 as Research viticulturist after working as a Post-Doctoral Fellow with CSIRO. He has more than 20 years experience in deciduous perennial horticulture, with the majority on grapevines.

During the last ten years he has been project leader and principal investigator in several research projects, currently he is leading three research projects in the areas vine carbohydrate partitioning, nutrition and irrigation. These projects include the supervision of PhD students and considerable interaction with the wine industry.

Bruno often presents at international conferences and has international links with a number of institutions in Europe.

*NSW Department of Primary Industries was formed on July 1, 2004 through an amalgamation of NSW Agriculture, NSW Fisheries, State Forests of NSW and the NSW Department of Mineral Resources.


  • Dipl. Ing. agr.(Master in Agriculture), University of Bonn (Germany) – November 1988
  • Dr. agr. (PhD in Agriculture) University of Bonn (Germany) - November 1993

Current projects

Management of carbohydrate reserve accumulation as a tool for regulating vine productivity and fruit quality

The work is conducted to understand the dynamics of reserve accumulation in relation to management and climatic effects on vine carbon balance. The project will lead to practical methods for manipulating reserve accumulation in the vineyard as a means of managing yield and fruit composition in the following season.

Interactions between nutrient uptake and carbohydrate metabolism in vines

The main focus of this study is to understand the nutrient and carbohydrate reserve dynamics on root growth and their impact on vine performance in Shiraz. This further comprehension of nutrient acquisition will allow optimising of fertiliser application to enhance vine performance and berry composition.

Grape and wine composition influenced by vine resources under different environmental conditions

The aim of this project is to clarify the link between vine reserves, fruit and wine composition in Semillon. The study will lead to a better understanding of carbohydrate and nitrogen reserve mobilisation on grape and wine composition under limited water supply.

Recent publications

Holzapfel B and Treeby M (2007) The effect of nitrogen application on the nitrogen status and juice composition of Shiraz grafted on three rootstocks. Aust. J. Grape & Wine Res. 13, 14-22

Holzapfel B and Smith J (2007) Vine carbohydrate reserves at harvest and leaf fall and its importance on productivity in the next season. Le Bulletin de L’OIV 80, 17-29

Holzapfel B, Smith J, Mandel R and Keller M (2006) Manipulating the length and effectiveness of the post-harvest period and the impact on vine productivity of Semillon grapevines. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 57, 148-157

Hall A, Holzapfel B, Smith J, Wade J, Louis J and Lamb D (2004) Precision viticulture: monitoring and managing vineyard variation with remote sensing. 7th Int. Symp. on Technology Application in Hort-and Viticulture, Stuttgart, Germany, 213-224

Wade J, Holzapfel B, DeGaris K, Keller M and Williams D (2004) Nitrogen and water management strategies for sustainable viticulture. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 640, 61-67

Virgona J, Smith J and Holzapfel B (2003) Scions influence apparent transpiration efficiency of Vitis vinifera (cv. Shiraz). Shiraz. Aust. J. Grape & Wine Res. 9(3), 183-185

Hall A, Lamb D, Holzapfel B and Louis J (2002) Optical remote sensing application in viticulture-A review. Aust. J. Grape & Wine Res. 8(1), 36-47

Treeby M, Holzapfel B, Pickering G and Friedrich C (2000) Vineyard nitrogen supply and Shiraz grape and wine quality. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 512, 77-92

Treeby M, Holzapfel B, Walker R and Nicholas P (1998) Profiles of free amino acids in grapes in grafted Chardonnay grapevines. Aust. J. Grape & Wine Res. 4(3), 121-126

Holzapfel B and Coombe B (1998) Interaction of perfused chemicals as inducers and reducers of bunchstem necrosis in grapevine bunches and the effect on the bunchstem concentrations and ammonium ion and abscisic acid. Aust. J. Grape & Wine Res. 4(2), 127-132

Holzapfel B and Coombe B (1997) Relationship of ammonium ion and abscisic acid in bunchstem tissue to the incidence of the disorder bunchstem necrosis in grapevines. Aust. J. Grape & Wine Res. 3(3), 127-132

Holzapfel B and Coombe B (1995) Incidence of grapevine bunchstem necrosis in South Australia; effects of region, year and pruning. Aust. J. Grape & Wine Res. 1(1), 51-54

Contact details

Email: bruno.holzapfel@dpi.nsw.gov.au