Phylloxera in the Yarra Valley

On December 23 another outbreak of phylloxera in the Yarra Valley was confirmed. This is the third infection since 1. December 2006. Phylloxera is a small aphid that lives on the roots of grape vines. Despite almost a century of research no remedy has been found so far. An infection will inevitable lead to the death of the vine. Grape growers, vintners, wine makers and winery owners are concerned that the spread of the disease cannot be contained.

A new “Phylloxera Infested Zone” called the Maroondah PIZ has been declared around the known infested sites, with the boundary set at a minimum of 5km from all known phylloxera affected properties, and taking into account physical features including roads and rivers.

phylloxera-zone-yv-web

The Maroondah PIZ

One can see the affected vineyard from St Hubert’s road, near Punt Road Winery. It has obviously been treated. The dead vines are without any leaves.

The four photos below show some of the symptoms we look out for. All four photos come from a brochure called “Inspecting Vineyards for Phylloxera” on vine desease from South Australia.

phyll1

phyll3

phyll4

phyll2

Early signs of phylloxera

We at Two Hills Vineyard are very concerned too. Our wine is made in a winery in the Yarra Valley (Yering Farm Wines) and some of our contractors and vineyard workers are also working on vineyards there.

In order to not contract the vine disease we are attempting a certification with a protocol in place which will prevent our vines from being affected sometime in the future. It’s quite fortunate that we have no visitors in the vineyard and do not participate in the wine tourist trade. However, all people working in the vineyard and their equipment need to take proper precautions. We hope it will work.

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