Transcriptomics has been widely applied to study grape berry development. With few exceptions, transcriptomic studies in grape are performed using the available genome sequence, PN40024, as reference. However, differences in gene content among grape accessions, which contribute to phenotypic differences among cultivars, suggest that a single reference genome does not represent the species' entire gene space. Though whole genome assembly and annotation can reveal the relatively unique or "private" gene space of any particular cultivar, transcriptome reconstruction is a more rapid, less costly, and less computationally intensive strategy to accomplish the same goal. In this study, we used single molecule-real time sequencing (SMRT) to sequence full-length cDNA (Iso-Seq) and reconstruct the transcriptome of Cabernet Sauvignon berries during berry ripening. In addition, short reads from ripening berries were used to error-correct low-expression isoforms and to profile isoform expression. By comparing the annotated gene space of Cabernet Sauvignon to other grape cultivars, we demonstrate that the transcriptome reference built with Iso-Seq data represents most of the expressed genes in the grape berries and includes 1,501 cultivar-specific genes. Iso-Seq produced transcriptome profiles similar to those obtained after mapping on a complete genome reference. Together, these results justify the application of Iso-Seq to identify cultivar-specific genes and build a comprehensive reference for transcriptional profiling that circumvents the necessity of a genome reference with its associated costs and computational weight.Copyright © 2019 Minio et al.