Vine Pests

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

vine pests, can make viticulture uneconomic and can have drastic effects on wine quality unless controlled. They include animals, insects, and nematodes (while vine diseases include the microbes bacteria, fungi, phytoplasma, viroids, and virus).

The principal commercial wine grape vitis vinifera is indigenous to Eurasia, while the majority of severe vine pests and diseases come principally from east and south east North America. Their accidental introduction to Europe from the 1850s onwards had dramatic consequences for local viticulture. The fungal disease powdery mildew was bad enough but fortunately a control was soon at hand. The insect pest phylloxera was not so easy to control, and for a period following its introduction in 1863 the entire French wine industry was threatened. Fortunately it was solved by grafting V. vinifera vines on to rootstocks derived from american vine species which have natural resistance to phylloxera. This practice is now used worldwide.