Grassy booze discussion last week from Michael Markarian and inderpal singh. Thanks gents!
This week: New threats of phylloxera
What regions are most recently affected by the louse and why? What are their plans of action? Is it all bad or is there a silver lining?
One of the silver linings in Walla Walla is that many of the vineyards are about 40-50 years old and are approaching the age when they would start to be replanted anyway. Growers have the opportunity now to replant with phylloxera-resistant American rootstock and the timing of the discovery is not too disruptive.
Another silver lining is that the grower now has the ability to select a specific rootstock for their specific site. While there is a lot of romance and history tied to own-rooted vines, and certainly that is a significant marketing angle to work, I'm not sure that own-rooted vines have even been conclusively proven to be better or worse than a selected rootstock. Most of the world's most expensive, sought after wines are on selected rootstock.
There are dozens (maybe even hundreds) of rootstocks to choose from, and new ones are still in development. For a grower who's replanting on American or hybrid rootstock, they can now select for a variety of issues besides phylloxera resistance: nematode resistance, drought tolerance, potassium uptake, vigor, ease of grafting, etc. They will be able to choose a rootstock that can help mitigate other issues at the same time as preventing phylloxera.
I need to find these 50 year old Walla Walla vineyards.