Pierce’s disease

or PD

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Pierce’s disease or PD is one of the vine bacterial diseases most feared around the world as it can quickly kill vines and there is no cure. The disease, along with flavescence dorée, is a principal reason for quarantine restrictions on the movement of grape cuttings and other plants between countries. In common with many other economically significant vine diseases, it originates on the American continent. The disease is a principal factor limiting grape-growing in the Gulf Coastal plains of the united states (see texas) and southern california. The disease was first described in 1892 in southern California as Anaheim disease, but was later named after the Californian researcher Pierce. By 1906, the disease had destroyed almost all of the more than 16,000 ha/39,500 acres of vines, and there was another epidemic in the 1930s in the Los Angeles basin, which never recovered as a viticultural area. Pierce’s disease has continued to cause chronic problems in coastal northern California (Napa and Sonoma) in isolated hot spots near riparian vegetation and in the Central Valley near insect vector breeding habitats such as pastures and hay fields. The disease is today found across the southern United States and throughout Mexico and Central America. It has also been reported in Venezuela.