And then came


Reblaus Biologie
In 1562, Huguenot settlers brought the first European vines from France to Florida. Three centuries later phylloxera (see painting above from Humboldt University Berlin) was brought from the east coast of America to the southern France, where it was started to evolve in the Rhône Valley in 1863. Phylloxera lived and had harmonious symbiosis with the wild vines but was restricted to do any harm in its ancestral homeland. This wasn't the case when it arrived in Europe, weher its evolution looked completely different: The pest had first remained unknown to the local vines, which was the reason they had not developed any natural protection. In adition the insect felt at home in its new environment and spread rapidly all over Europe causing enormous damage in all wine-growing regions. The biggest in the history of wine culture. The only vineyards, which were spared were the once with sandy soils such as in Hungary.
Befallene Rebe
France was hit particularly hard. Especially since mildew, which also originated in North America, had entered the country a few years earlier, in the mid-1840s. The fungus had infested large parts of the wine-growing areas, whereupon the vines had toe be destroyed and newly planted. And phylloxera then gave the French viticulture the final hit. 2.5 million hectares, over 75% of the total vineyard area, were destroyed in France. In 1870, the French government set up a commission to combat phylloxera. But neither the burying of toads, the beating of vines or the flooding of vineyards made had a positive impact on damaging phylloxera. They then even tried to inject toxic carbon disulphide into the main root area of infected vines, which also proved to be unsuccessful. The commission was hopless. (read more) auch als „Reblaus-Katastrophe“ bekannt.
In 1873, the southern French botany professor Jules Émile Planchon first discovered that phylloxera had reached Europe from the American with the help of the winegrower Gaston Bazille and the horticulturist Sahut. The biological behaviour of the vine lice and the fact that the vines were immune to euopean solutions finally led the researchers to cooperate with experts from overseas: American winegrowers sent their vine varieties to france so that Bazille could start to graft the upper parts of European noble varieties onto resistant American rootstocks, today also known as grafting (read more). And it worked: They successfully disrupted the natural cycle of phylloxera and developed the first biological pest control in the history of viticulture.
Jules Émile Planchon & Gaston Bazille
In the 1910s, a French delegation travelled to America to find the appropriate rootstocks. But years went by until the Grafting (read moreals einzig became efficient. But back to phylloxera-crisis: Austria had the same difficulties as France and had phylloxera since 1867. Firts in Klosterneuburg in the Danube region, today the Wagram wine region. (read more). In Germany, phylloxera was first discovered in 1874 in the Rhineland near Bonn. From there it migrated on to the Dresden region and was also discovered around 1885 in the Lößnitz region (read moreerst around 1885, when the majority of the vine population was already infested. Attempts were made to stop the growth and spreading of phylloxera by clearing and burning the vines and the trees while standing in the vineyards.
In addition, the soil was intensively treated with carbon disulphide and kerosene for disinfection purposes. Without success, since it did not only kept it alive but also highly poisoned the soil. As a result, Saxon viticulture lost its economic strenght for many decades to come and by 1910 the cultivated areas declined 150 hectares to 10 hectares. But the phylloxera continued to spread undisturbed and continued with the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer area in 1907. Moreover, in 1913 onwards it affected the wine-growing region of Baden. (read more) and destroyed plenty of vineyards. Germany enacted the legal requirement to plant exclusively grafted vines after the Second World War. Thus it was possible to save the local viticulture from another catastrophe.
phylloxera control
The "Hessische Bergstrasse" had the reputation of beeing a completely phylloxera-free cultivation area. However, this changed in the summer of 2005 where all vines werde infected with the pest as well! Today, there are only a few winegrowing regions or sites in the world where vines still gorw on their true and own roots. But wue to climate changes phylloxera seems to be on the rise again. And phylloxera is probably the only insect which was honored with its own song by Hans Moser, who sang the praises of phylloxera in 1940:
This text was researched and written by Charlotte Münch © Copyright & and all other right of all texts on weinstore24 belongs to In addition, visit our Infopage for more information about the wines of Lebanon.