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Robin Garr

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Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:50 pm

:shock: This can't be good.

Reporting by W. Blake Gray at Wine-Searcher.com:

When you see phylloxera, it's already too late. The most feared of all vineyard pests has been found for the first time in Washington's Walla Walla Valley.

Many growers felt invulnerable because of the winter freezes and the sandy soils. They will have to replant.

https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2019/09 ... mBTKMI0xyc
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:09 pm

Uh-oh
"The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."
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Re: Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:12 pm

A couple of particularly troubling points:

Walla Walla Valley is unusually vulnerable to phylloxera because many growers there chose to plant grapevines on their own roots, rather than graft them onto phylloxera-resistant roots, as is common in most wine-producing regions.


The phylloxera outbreak is another result of climate change. Historically, Walla Walla Valley had hard freezes that not only slowed down phylloxera's reproduction, but also rewarded own-rooted vines because they recover faster from the effects of frost.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by Paul Winalski » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:30 pm

Ouch. Phylloxera aphids usually avoid sandy soils.

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Jenise

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Re: Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by Jenise » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:44 pm

Scary. And those quotes of yours played in my mind later yesterday, Robin, when an arborist was presenting our options for dealing with a trio of blights present in our front courtyard. They in part exist because we missed out on that hard frost (defined as a week at say 20F) last year. The inability to reliably expect one this year means we will have to deploy some chemicals we'd otherwise rather not use.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by Robin Garr » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:12 pm

Huh ... I didn't realize it gets that cold in your neck of the woods, Jenise!
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Re: Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by Jenise » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:31 pm

Rain aside, we have one of the mildest climates in the U.S., generally devoid of extremes at either end the rest of you suffer. But yeah, we'll usually get a week or two of sub zero temps in December or January, sometimes, but not always including, snow.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Tim York

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Re: Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by Tim York » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:45 am

Do the growers in Washington state think that ungrafted vines give superior wine to grafted? That is the common wisdom in France where a few pockets of ungrafted vines (franc de pied) survive. It is usually presented as a tragedy when such vines have to be grubbed up.

When I first started taking an interest in wine in the 50s, there were books around by old-timers, who remembered pre-phylloxera Bordeaux and Burgundy from their young days and, in some cases, had some aged examples in their cellars or in those of their friends. They claimed that post-phylloxera wines were consistently inferior to those of the same estates pre-phylloxera. This may, of course, have been the result of nostalgia aided by young vines and the absence of fine vintages between the replanting and the 20s (except 1899 and 1900 when the vines were still quite young).

I came back to this thread inspired by a bottle of Chinon franc de pied opened a couple of days ago. Here is my TN -

2006 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Franc de Pied - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon (9/8/2019)
Wines made from ungrafted vines have the reputation of having greater depth and vibrancy than similar ones from grafts. I am unable to make that comparison here but this bottle was certainly youthful seeming and vibrant with plenty of vigorous red fruit, earthy minerals, touches of graphite and wet leather, lively acidity and a firm quite long finish. Compared with my memory of other 06s, there was perhaps a deficit of sweet charm and rather more acidity but very good.
Posted from CellarTracker
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Re: Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by Jenise » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:53 pm

Tim, I'm hardly an expert on the thinking here but the article suggested that's the case if only by laying bare the question: otherwise, why take the risk? Most vines in this state were planted since 1980. It's all pretty recent, recent enough that the whole specter of global warming wasn't completely out of view even if the last ten extreme years hadn't happened yet.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Phylloxera in Walla Walla

by Paul Winalski » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:10 pm

A separate issue from the wine quality is that planting vines on their own roots saves the expense and labor of grafting. I suspect that's the main reason for planting vines as direct producers when conditions make that possible.

Is Chile still phylloxera-free?

-Paul W.

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