Lake County Winegrowers - December 2012 eNews
European Grapevine Moth ~ LCWC Has a New Office
Lake County Rising... In this edition... Tremendous teamwork and an aggressive approach has seemingly allowed Lake County to avoid infestation by the European Grapevine Moth, a pest that has plagued neighboring regions. Though, even in those spots, due to a state-wide effort between the grape industry, both wine and table, and government agencies has this invasive on the run. This approach and its apparent success has kept a potentially devastating problem, economic and PR-wise, from taking place in Lake County. All parties involved are grateful to each other for working together so effectively...
Also, the Lake County Winegrape Commission has a new office - please make a note. The new address is 3895 Main Street, Kelseyville, CA 95451. The new phone is: 707-279-2633 and fax: 707-279-2712.
Teamwork Heads-Off Pest At The Pass In Lake
The European Grapevine Moth Has Not Posed a Problem in the Region...
Lake County, CA - It took a concerted, state-wide and local effort, acknowledged Randy Krag (at left), Lake County Winegrape Commission Board Member and Beckstoffer Vineyards Manager for Lake County, to prevent the European Grapevine Moth from becoming more of problem and keeping it out of Lake County. “The industry and our partners really stepped up,” he said.
Originally, from Southern Italy, the European Grapevine Moth (Lobesia botrana) is a potentially devastating pest to grapes and other crops in numerous parts of the world. Its three generation larval cycle takes place within one grape growing season and can cause direct damage to the fruit as well as rendering it susceptible to harm from other threats, such as various types of fungus. Its first documented appearance in California was in the Napa Valley in 2009, where it has posed a serious problem since. It was, of sorts, a call to arms for the grape (both wine and table) industries, other crops and government agencies.
Meetings began in early 2010 in Northern California and Lake County to inform growers about the issue and its serious implications. Locally, the Lake County Winegrape Commission let growers in the region know the critical nature of the problem and how it was important to participate and cooperate. “We could not have done this without the industry and the Commission,” said Steve Hajik, Lake County Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer.
Krag credits the industry and agencies, state-wide for the success in keeping the moth out of Lake County. At this point, there is no infestation in the county. “It was a three-pronged effort,” said Krag. “That included education; monitoring and detection; and industry cooperation.”
“The County Ag office [Lake County Department of Agriculture] and their team (at left) really spearheaded this effort and went to bat for Lake County,” he continued. “We owe them thanks.”
In fact, when the moth was found in Northern Napa in 2011, a quarantine, automatically ‘drawn’ to include a radius around the affected area where the find occurred, overlapped into southern Lake County. Aside from being a costly proposition to implement and endure, the PR fallout could have been costly for the wine region. Immediately, the county ag office appealed to the USDA and CDFA that a quarantine was unwarranted for Lake County, as the physical barrier between the Napa site and the bottom of Lake is defined by high mountains where no grapes are present. Essentially, this created a non-traversible ‘pass’ for the moth.
Adult European Grapevine Moth (above left) and larva (above right.)
Due to the successful appeal, the threat of quarantine in Lake County was lifted and none has taken place in the region. This critical effort, along with aggressive ongoing monitoring and education, is indicative of the proactive nature the partners have taken. It has served to protect both the health and economic viability of the wine industry in Lake County. “It’s the right thing to do,” said Hajik.
The problem seems to be greatly diminished due to these concerted efforts both regionally and state-wide. After thousands of finds in Napa over the past few years, 2012, for example, saw just 77, with 72 of those centered in one area. In Lake County, the partners remain vigilant. Traps are available to growers and the Lake County Department of Agriculture continues to monitor key potential vectors including transportation of grapes into the county, used stakes (also discovered as a possible transport mechanism for the moth) and at local wineries.
The moth can hollow out the grape (above left), leaving just the skin and seed. Grapes suffering from fungus, frass and webbing damage (above right.) Fortunately, Lake County has not seen these issues in the vineyards.
Things seem hopeful that a significant problem has been largely averted in California and completely avoided in Lake County. That’s good news for growers and the wine industry here with possible onerous quarantines rendered unnecessary. The potentially grave economic and PR consequences have been avoided. Due to the teamwork between industry and the relevant agencies both within Lake County and around the state “it seems that we are on our way to eradication,” said Hajik.
Moth and fruit photos courtesy of UC Davis. Much more can be learned about the European Grapevine Moth and connected programs at UC Davis’ Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program’s website here.
Visit our website for much more. Our website, which can be seen here, has much more information on our region, our winegrapes and all of our programs and activities.
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The Lake County Winegrowers