Drosophila

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

drosophila, an insect pest of grapevines. Fruit fly, Mediterranean fruit fly, vinegar fly, and pomace fly are all names applied to various species of Drosophila, in particular Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila feed and reproduce in fermenting fruits of all kinds and can frequently be found in the domestic fruit bowl. The major damage they cause in grapes, with a drastic reduction in wine quality, is the spread of bunch rots. Drosophila multiply rapidly—with a period of only six to eight days for the egg-to-egg reproductive cycle in hot climates—which explains why this fly has been used so much for the study of genetics. They are also a common problem in wineries during vintage, when insects can contaminate wine by spreading harmful bacteria. Maggots may develop in overripe fruit. Control is difficult, and includes the destruction of breeding places, such as piles of rejected fruit and pomace.