What Does Finding Phylloxera Mean for Washington Wine?

Sep 19, 2019

(Winemag) - Last month’s discovery in Walla Walla Valley of grape phylloxera, a microscopic, aphid-like louse that destroyed much of the world’s wine grape vines in the late 19th century, reverberated quickly across the Washington State wine industry.

First up. What does the presence of phylloxera in Washington State mean for the wine-consuming public? Not much.

“This truly does not have an impact to the consumer, as it does not affect wine quality,” says Steve Warner, president of Washington State Wine.

Rather, phylloxera affects grapevine productivity. As they feed, the insects damage grapevine roots. Over time, this reduces vine vigor, making it uneconomical to continue growing fruit and forcing replanting. Phylloxera can also inhabit leaves, but this form of the insect has not yet been found in Washington.

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