Nitrogen deficit affects both crop production and composition, particularly in crops requiring an optimal fruit N content for aroma development. The adaptation of cultural practices to improve N use efficiency (NUE) (i.e. N uptake, assimilation and partitioning) is a priority for the sustainable production of high-quality crops. A trial was set on potted grapevines (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Chasselas) to investigate the potential of crop limitation (via bunch thinning) to control plant NUE and ultimately fruit N composition at harvest. A large crop load gradient was imposed by bunch thinning (0.5-2.5 kg m-2) and N traceability in the plant was realised with an isotope-labelling method (10 atom % 15N foliar urea). The results indicate that the mobilisation of root reserves plays a major role in the balance of fruit N content. Fertiliser N uptake and assimilation appeared to be strongly stimulated by high-yielding conditions. Fertilisation largely contributed to fulfilling the high fruit N demand while limiting the mobilisation of root reserves under high yield conditions. Plants were able to modulate root N reserve mobilisation and fertiliser N uptake in function of the crop load, thus maintaining a uniform N concentration in fruits. However, the fruit free amino N profile was modified, which potentially altered the fruit aromas. These findings highlight the great capacity of plants to adapt their N metabolism to constraints, crop thinning in this case. This confirms the possibility of monitoring NUE by adapting cultural practices.