Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Visiting Professor

Prof. Paolo Sabbatini, Michigan State University

Paolo Sabbatini received his PhD (2002) and MS (1997) in Horticulture from the University of Ancona (Italy).

From 2002, he worked as post-doc focusing his research on carbon assimilation and in 2004 moved to Michigan State for continuing his post-doctoral studies on natural carbon isotope discrimination and source-sink relationship. In 2007 he joined the Department of Horticulture of the Michigan State University as Assistant Professor in viticulture with research (50%), extension (40%) and teaching (10%) responsibilities and he became Associate Professor in 2013.

Research focus is on vine physiology of juice and wine grapes. Emphasis is on physiological and cultural factors limiting vine growth, sustainable yield, fruit quality and their interaction with biotic and abiotic stress. His ultimate goal is to solve whole plant problems that will optimize vine productivity and quality.

He has State responsibilities for evaluation of wine cultivar and several ongoing research projects funded by MGWIC (Michigan Grape Wine and industry Council), Welch’s National Grape Cooperative, Project GREEEN (MSU AgBioResearch) and USDA on vine balance, canopy management, determination of action thresholds of pest and diseases and viticultural approaches to reduce bunch rot in wine grapes. He is affiliated with several professional societies; ASEV (from 2007), ASEV-ES (from 2009), ISHS (from 2002) and ASHS (from 2006).

Seminars in November 2017

  1. The role of research and extension in supporting the expansion of the grape and wine industry in USA and in Michigan
  2. Impact of viticultural practices in improving fruit quality in cold-cool climate viticulture

Similar to other cold-cool climates regions of the World (Austria, Germany, new Zealand  and north of France) wines produced in Michigan are aromatic and with distinctive varietal character.

However, the limiting and challenging weather impose great attention on selecting wine grape varieties and cultural practices. While market pricing and demand varieties by wineries may direct growers to plant specific varieties, it is important to carefully consider the varieties that are best suited for each specific sites. There are many factors, which must be considered in planting a new vineyard: crop control and canopy management pivotal for the production of grapes. Crop control is a vineyard practice that includes the adjustment of the vine to balance the amount of fruit with the growth of the vine.

Moreover, to ensure the production of high quality grapes, growers in the Midwest implement canopy management practices especially in vineyards seeking maximum wine quality. Canopy management is the practice that results in the modification of position and amount of leaves, shoot, and fruit in trellis system. Benefits canopy management are maximizing sunlight interception improving fruit quality, increasing air movement leading to faster drying time from rain and thus less disease pressure.