This Day in Phylloxera History

A widespread insect pest of commercial grapevines, grape phylloxera originated from eastern North America. The grape phylloxera, also known as Daktulosphaera vitifoliae or Phylloxera vitifoliae, was first identified as Phylloxera vastatrix in France and is a member of the bug family Phylloxeridae in the family Hemiptera. The insect is normally referred to as phylloxera. Phylloxera only consumes species of Vitis. It is cecidogenic and infests the roots and leaves of the vitis species (gall-forming). The grape phylloxera radicole (root-galling), which causes nodosities on nonlignified roots and tuberosities on older lignified roots, is especially dangerous to Vitis vinifera. Within 4–7 years of infestation, these nodosities and tuberosities reduce yield, reduce leaf surface area, and even cause vine death. Being a significant topic in the wine history, this post highlights some of the key historical events and incidents involving the phylloxera epidemic, including the dates vineyards and wine regions.

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Phylloxera, This Day in Phylloxera History

Source: https://njvines.rutgers.edu/grape-phylloxera/

In 1850s: During this period, in California, grape roots were initially affected by phylloxera. Due to the insect’s resilience to powdery mildew, American Vitis species vines that had been imported for use in grapevine breeding operations in 1860 brought the pest to France and other parts of Europe.

In 1860s: During this period, vine phylloxera first occurred in Europe in the southern Rhône region of France (Pujaut, La Crau-St-Rémy, and Graveson), where grapes started to wilt and die for reasons that were not previously understood. However, it wasn’t until 1868 that a commission of experts confirmed the existence of grape phylloxera in dead roots of grapevines. At the time, the insect was known as Phylloxera vastatrix. The bug was seen almost concurrently in the Bordeaux region, where an outbreak was reported in the town of Floirac in 1869. Soon after, grape phylloxera spread rapidly over France’s southern and central vineyards, decimating around 40% of the vines there. This caused a significant economic shock in a country heavily dependent on agriculture.

In 1866: In this year, the phylloxera outbreak reached the Cape Town, South Africa. The phylloxera outbreak reached the Cape, leaving a trail of extensive damage that would require more than 20 years to heal. It took place in the Western Cape and Northern Cape’s Orange River Valley.

Phylloxera, This Day in Phylloxera History

Source: https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/no-cure-for-grape-phylloxera/

In 1868: This year marked the entry of phylloxera in Vienna Austria. A large outbreak occurred in 1868 in Klosterneuburg, a city adjacent to Vienna, Austria. From then, grape phylloxera used the Danube river channel to spread, initially to the nearby Austrian viticultural districts of Lower Austria and Burgenland, and subsequently to modern-day Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary.

In 1869: In this year, a suggestion was made by Lichtenstein that the “vine louse” responsible for Phylloxera in France came from America. Pemphigus vitifoliae was the name given by American entomologist Asa Fitch to the “vine louse” he found in 1855; Lichtenstein contended that this was the French insect. These suggestions, however, had a drawback. Unlike American grape lice, which were known to only infest a vine’s leaves, French grape lice were known to only infest a vine’s roots.

In 1871: In this year, French vines were grafted onto American rootstock by farmers in France who began importing them. French farmers began importing American rootstock and grafted American vines onto it. Despite Leo Laliman’s offer to import American vines as early as 1869, French farmers were reticent to abandon their native varietals. Gaston Bazille’s second initiative was to graft typical French vines onto American rootstock. Importing American vines helped to some extent, although several American grape varieties struggled in France’s chalky soils and perished from Phylloxera.

In 1873: In this year, the first case of phylloxera in Sonoma was reported Agoston Haraszthy’s Sonoma vineyard at Buena Vista. The bug initially crept slow

Phylloxera, This Day in Phylloxera History

Source: https://www.pinterest.ie/pin/516365913506296419/

ly through the vineyard grounds, but by the 1890s it had intensified its assault. In the Napa Valley, there were more than 20,000 acres of vine vineyards, but by 1900, there were only approximately 3,000 left. In response, the California State Legislature created an inquiry commission and requested the creation of a viticulture department at the University of California.

In 1877: In this year, the first case of Phylloxera was reported in Australia. In Australia, Phylloxera made its first appearance at Geelong in 1877. As it proceeded north, it destroyed the industry and the vines. It was found in Queensland in 1910 and New South Wales in 1884. After implementing a prohibition on the transport of vine material in 1874, South Australia was spared the plague. Additionally unaffected were Western Australia and Tasmania.

In 1878: In this year, the first case of Phylloxera was reported in Spain in Malaga. From this entry point, the pandemic spread to other parts of the country gradually.

In 1878: This year also saw the spread of phylloxera into Argentina. Although other locations of the world saw 90 percent of their vineyards destroyed, Argentina was unexpectedly unscathed by the vine-root devouring louse. Although phylloxera was first identified in Argentina in 1878, it did not appear to thrive in the soils close to Mendoza.

Phylloxera, This Day in Phylloxera History

Source: https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2020/07/phylloxera-breakthrough-brings-hope-to-vineyards

In 1875: In this year, the San Isidro Agricultural Institute (IASI), in Barcelona, and some individuals like Joan Miret questioned how to deal with the epidemic (4 or 5 years prior to its invasion). In the Eastern Pyrenees, Joan Miret recommended building a “sanitary belt” (firebreak) (from the coast to Figueras ). This resulted in the destruction of Alto Ampurdán’s vineyards. The Spanish Anti-Philoxeric Congress received the proposal from the IASI, which was then accepted in the Cortes on July 30, 1878.

In 1879: In this year, the vines close to the Monastery of San Quirze de Colera (Rabós) were where phylloxera was first discovered in Catalonia. The Antiphyloxera Brigades (headed by Joan Miret) were formed to create the “sanitary belt” after phylloxera had already spread to Spain. The winegrowers, however, violently rejected them, and they were able to put an end to the brigade’s activities.

Phylloxera, This Day in Phylloxera History

Source: https://www.decantalo.com/es/en/wine/q/do_monterrei/

In 1880-1881: the phylloxera reached the Bajo Ampurdán. Through Tordera, it entered the Barcelona province in 1882, and in 1883, it expanded to the Maresme wine-growing region. In order to build a new “sanitary cordon,” the Provincial Antiphyloxeric Commission was established in Barcelona at this time. However, a fresh popular rebellion stopped and blocked it.

In 1880s: The French Phylloxera Epidemic was resolved using Planchon’s Theory. Two French wine producers, Leo Laliman and Gaston Bazille, put forth the concept that the issue would be solved if vinifera vines could be grafted with the aphid-resistant American vines. Later, Charles Valentine Riley, the state entomologist of Missouri, confirmed Planchon’s theory. Thomas Volney Munson provided Texan rootstocks for the purpose of grafting.

In 1884: In this year, the early project of planting European grapes in Japan was affected by the Phylloxera epidemic. In Kofu, Yamanashi, Hironori Yamada and Norihisa Takuma attempted to create wine for the first time in 1875, mostly utilizing equipment for sake brewing. In 1877,

Phylloxera, This Day in Phylloxera History

Source: https://www.koshuvalley.com/winecountry

the newly founded winery Dai-Nihon Yamanashi Budoshu in Katsunuma, Yamanashi, dispatched Masanari Takano and Ryuken Tsuchiya to Troyes in the Champagne region of France to learn viticulture and wine production techniques. European grape varieties were the focus of early Japanese efforts, but the initiative was all but destroyed in 1884 when Phylloxera spread through imported root stock.

In 1885: Phylloxera cases were first reported in New Zealand. When the phylloxera bug was discovered in New Zealand for the first time in 1885, its identity was unclear. When phylloxera was discovered in Whangrei vineyards in 1890, the minister of lands contacted the French and other European governments to learn more about the tactics they had used to treat the disease.

In 1891: The first case of phylloxera was reported in Italy. Although Sicily and Calabria were severely affected, the first occurrence of phylloxera in Italy was found near to Lake Como. The pest was originally identified in Perugia in 1891, moved to Gubbio by 1899, but did not spread farther. The Lago Trasimeno shores were where it reappeared in 1916, and it wasn’t until 1933 that it also made it to Foligno and Montefalco. The slow spread in Italy was facilitated by the indigenous custom of wrapping grapevines around trees and blending crops with various species.

In 1890s: Over 80% of the grapevines in the Napa Valley were destroyed by the root louse phylloxera. It took over 100 years for the Napa Valley wine sector to rebound. Phylloxera persisted in the Napa Valley grapes from 1900 to 1925. Instead, farmers started growing prunes and walnuts to supplement their income.

In 1899: In this year, phylloxera reached La Rioja. The Provincial Commission for the Defense against Phylloxera, one of the earliest in Spain, was created there in 1878, marking the beginning of its history in relation to the plague. A measure of the utmost significance has been agreed upon to stop the ravages of evil should it unavoidably arise, according to a report made by the aforementioned commission to the General Director of Public Instruction, Agriculture, and Industries on November 30 of the same year. This led to the development of three phylloxera-resistant vine seed nurseries, each in the Rioja Alta, Media, and Baja regions.

 

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