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Wine Wisdoms #22: Phylloxera, The Pest

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 4:09:25 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies


You may have heard the term “Phylloxera” thrown around with reference to grape growing and wondered what it is. Phylloxera is a microscopic root louse and a grapevine pest that enjoys feasting on vitis vinifera, the species of grape vine that produces most wine grapes.  Phylloxera attacks the root of the vine. When a vineyard is infested with Phylloxera it can be completely decimated, and the grower is forced to pull up the vines and replant. Phylloxera is originally from North America and was accidentally brought to Europe in the late 1800s, nearly wiping out the vineyards there as well. Because Phylloxera only likes to feed on the vitis vinifera grapevine, the remedy is to plant another species into the ground like vitis labrusca and then graft the two species together, just above ground. Chile is said to be the only country in the world that is Phylloxera-free.

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