The wine industry launches research into wood diseases to try and avoid an « escatastrophy ».

Lundi 28 octobre 2013 par Kelsie Adams

The wine industry launches research into wood diseases to try and avoid an « escatastrophy ».

Is it even possible these days to find a winegrowing region in France that is not affected by wood diseases ? As esca, black dead arm, eutypa and other diseases develop, the fear of having another crisis in the wine industry, just like the phylloxera plague, is growing. Over the course of this summer, many people from the vineyards have spoken out to advocate national research into this problem. Among these people are, Michel Issaly, president of the Independant Vignerons of France, Michel Balsassini, Vice President of the Bourgogne Wine Board and the Wood Disease Working Group (part of FranceAgriMer)...

This resounding concern from the industry seems to have been heard. The French Institute of Vine and Wine (Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin) have just announced that « three new research projects on wood diseases, that will last three years, have just been launched. The overall cost of these projects is 3.7 million euros ». The projects will look into pathegenic microflora and vine wood protectors (with an aim of developing tolerance markers and diagnostics), a study on the aggressiveness of mushrooms involved in vine wood diseases (hoping to understand the effectiveness of sodium arsenite, the only known treatment for this, which has been banned in France since 2001) and an evaluation of the impact of farming techniques and environmental factors.

Centred in Champagne (University of Reims), Gironde  (Bordeaux Farming Sciences) and Languedoc-Roussillon (Regional Farming Centre), these studies are based on the European Cooperation (COST) and are also doubling up as a platform for research and development with 70 European experts coming to work together. Whilst the first batch of results are eagerly anticipated, for now there is « only one solution : to pull up the vines and replant them... » explains Benjamin Baudry, Head of Culture at Château d’Yquem.



[Photo : Slow forming esca on a white grape variety ; Philippe Larignon (ENTAV-ITV)]


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