After many months of disease pressure, France’s vineyards are now in fine fettle again

Tuesday July 21 2020 by Vitisphere

 Veraison will soon be with us, bringing relief for winegrowers. Veraison will soon be with us, bringing relief for winegrowers. - Photo credit : DR

In the very early-ripening areas, the first clusters showed signs of veraison around July 5. Everywhere else, the cluster closure stage is the norm. In vineyards with no disease symptoms, the stage marks the end of any risks of developing powdery mildew, and no more spraying is needed. If, however, the leaves or clusters have already been attacked, spraying is advisable until veraison.

This year, Burgundy’s winegrowers avoided downy mildew. “Symptoms on the clusters were few and far between, appearing in just 4 vineyards that belong to the surveillance network in the Saône et Loire and Jura regions”, says the plant health bulletin. 2020 was generally mild in vineyards in the North of the country. Conversely, in Bordeaux and Languedoc, growers were kept on their toes. “From April onwards, we had to introduce faultless protection programmes to deal with downy mildew”, stresses co-operative winery institute consultant Giacomo Pinna.

The situation has become easier to manage since the return of hot, dry weather in early July. “In our network of vineyards, we see little change, the frequency of affected clusters and the intensity of the onset have not changed, and stand respectively at 16% and 10%”, outlines the Bordeaux plant health bulletin. Provided the rain stays at bay, the risk of seeing fungal diseases develop in new vineyards is now almost nil.

The situation in Languedoc is comparable. “On the whole, the canopy is looking great but growers need to be wary of mosaic mildew, which could progress rapidly this summer in the event of rain or morning dew”, warns ICV consultant Laurent Duret.



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