Update 9.3.2013(17.6.2007)billn

pylloxeraMy journeys on the tram these last weeks have been enlivened by this book – Phylloxera. Like all the best stories, we have a malevolent baddie – and an ugly one – that’s bent on the destruction of (wine) ‘civilisation’. As the detective work unfurls the deadly ‘enemy’ takes many names; Peritymbia vitisana, Pemphigus vitifolii, Daktulosphaira, Viteus vitifolii, Rhizaphis vastatrix and Phylloxera vastatrix. Today, science knows it as Daktulosphaira vitifolii but the name ‘phylloxera’ persits. Don’t however assume that this is just history told; in California the destruction of previously resistant vines has recently heralded the arrival of phylloxera ‘Biotype B’ – the problem starts afresh.

The book is packed full of biggots, self promoters and always until it’s too late – denial. A fully recommended narrative that’s more like a novel than social history.

As routes to bypass the effect of the ‘louse’ were found, prices started to tumble for what we might now call vin de pays – riots and death were the result – the timing of guerrilla action in the Languedoc with the appearance of Biotype B is strangely coincidental.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 2 responses to “phylloxera”

  1. David Riach18th June 2007 at 9:24 amPermalinkReply

    Have you read “The Great Wine Blight” by George Ordish, first published by J M Dent & Sons in 1972, then again in 1987 by Sidgwick & Jackson as part of the series of Wine Classics edited by Jancis Robinson? (ISBN 0 283 99425 8)

  2. bill nanson18th June 2007 at 9:27 amPermalinkReply

    Hi David – not.

    However, Christy Campbell (author of the above book) does site it as the main reference that got him interested in the subject. Do you think it’s worth getting a copy? or will it be too many bugs for 1 year 😉


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