1. What is a Viticultural Challenge?
    2. Climate
    3. Phylloxera
    4. Viral Diseases of the World
    5. Protection Against Predators
    6. Fire & Smoke



Wine Generally Seems Easy Enough to Make.  Plant, Pick, Harvest, Ferment Bottle, Age and Sell.  This Sequence Almost Never Happens With Out Mishaps.  These Are Just a Few of the Things That Can Happen When Wine Going Wrong.

WEATHER EVENT- Type of Catastrophic Extreme Weather, Which Can Be Acute or Chronic.  Some Weather Events Are 10 Minute, Some Worsen Day by Day, Some Happen Over Night.

    • Drought   |   Hail
    • Flood   |   Frost
    • Botrytis/ Unwanted
    • Wild Boar- Break Through Fences, Eat the Grapes and Root Around the Vineyard
    • Baboons   |   Birds   |   Gophers
    • Sabatage
    • Earthquake
    • Fire

Is the Pest a Minor Irritant or a Lethal Problem to the Vineyard?


CLIMATIC CHALLENGE- Type of Weather That Your Region Displays On a Annual Cycle.  These Challenges Are Known and Planed For During the Vineyard Planning Phases and In the Vineyard Yearly.

    • Sun Exposure   |   High Temperature        
    •  Low Temperature   |   Humidity          
    • Rainfall   |   Fog                                          
    • Wind   |   Frost    |   Snow

The Biggest Viticultural Challenge is Climate. In so Many Ways Any Aspect of the Climate Can Go “Wrong” Mother Nature is In Charge.

WINTERIZING GRAPE VINES Grapes In Cold Weather Need Added Attention.

  • Ideal Time For Proper Pruning is Late Winter While Vines Are Still Doormat, Pruning Too Early Can Be a Problem, You Don’t Want New Growth to Get Cold Damage.
  • Insulating Mulch (Straw or Shredded Organic Material) Under Mounded Soil.

FROST **Refer to TERROIR/ CLIMATOLOGY/ Frost For Detailed Information.

FREEZE Frost is More of an Issue Because the Fruit is Likely to Be Effected But Not the Vine Itself. Winter Freeze During the Dormancy Period is a Problem Because it Can Kill the Vine.

  • Freezing to the Ground- Term Used When the Vine is Killed Above the Roots Because of Freezing Temperature. In the Chance the Vine is Planted On Its Own Roots the Vine Will Grown Back. If the Vine is Grafted Onto Rootstock the Vine Must Be Pulled, and a Grafted Vine Must Be Replanted.
  • Winter Kill- The Destruction Caused by Freezing Temperature.  The Grapevine Tissue and Organ Are So Damaged That the Entire Plant Above Ground and Below Are Killed.
  • Hilling Up the Soil- Using a Specially Designed Plow, It Pushes Soil Up Against the Vine Creating a Dirt Ridge Covering the Graft Union.  In Some Extreme Cold Countries They Cover the Entire Vine. Hilling Up the Soil Creates a Blanket For the Vine, Preventing Trunk/ Vine/ and Cane Damage.

HAIL NETS- Installed to Be Relatively Discreet But Can Be Extended Over the Majority of the Vineyard Quickly When Forecasted to.

  • **Refer to TERROIR/ CLIMATOLOGY/ Hail For Additional Information.


  • **Refer to CLIMATE/ CLIMATOLOGY/ Irrigation For Detailed Information.

SOIL SAMPLE/ SOIL PROFILE Lets You Know What State Your Soil is In, and What You Need to Do to Amend the Soil For Optimal Grape Production.

    • 5 Pounds/ Nitrogen 2 Pounds/ Phosphorus 12 Pounds Potassium

3) PHYLLOXERA– Yellow Winged Aphid-Louse That Can Crawl Through Earth or Fly.  This Louse Devastated Vineyards In Europe and California Throughout History.  Phylloxera Kills Vines by Larvae Burrowing Into Dirt and Puncturing Roots Surface Leaving Open Wounds For Other Diseases to Compromise the Roots.


  • Phylloxera is Native to the East Coast of the United States.
  • Louse is 1mm. In Size,  Hides In Soil/ Canopy, Hatched by Egg.
  • Phylloxera Spread by Cuttings, Leaves, Rooting, Soil, Machinery, Grapes, People.
  • No Biological/ Chemical Treatment to Control Phylloxera.
  • By Mid 1800’s New World and Old World Vintners Were Exchanging Cutting Across the Atlantic to See How Native American Vines Would Develop In Europe. This Exchange of Vine Lead to the Phylloxera Louse to Be Imported to Europe Where It Very Much Wiped Out the Vineyards of Europe. The Phylloxera Out Break Started In France and Over the Next 3 Decades Spread to Italy and Germany and Eventually the Majority of Vineyards Across Europe Were Wiped Out.
  • This Epidemic Was Solved With the Innovation of Grafting Vitis Vinifera Vines With American Root Stock. (ARX1) by the Viticulturist TV. Munson.
  • To Combat Phylloxera Vine Growers Graft Euro Vines to American Rootstock. This Works Because America Vine Rootstock Had Already Adapted to the Louse by Developing a Tolerance Mechanism That Allows Formation of a Layer of Corklike Tissue Around the Root Lesion and Developed Thicker Root Surface.
  • In the 1980’s Phylloxera Emerged In America.  Cutting That Were Brough From Europe Didn’t Posses Resistant Rootstock.  ARX1 Were Hybrid Rootstock of Vitis Vinifera and Vitis Lambrusca and Didn’t Last. Leading to the Development of a New Root-Stock. After a Generation of Testing it Was Learned That if a Root-Stock Has Any Vinifera Stock In the Hybrid Root-Stock it Will Not Be Resistant to Phylloxera In the Long Run.
  • Vine Injectors- First Used In Burgundy In 1873, These Steel Cylinders Were Used to Inject Carbon Disulfide Into the Soil Next to the Roots of Infected Grapevines That Had Been Attacked by the Phylloxera Root-Louse.  Although Not a Cure, it Was Though to Slow the Demize of the Vineyard.
  • History
    • 1862 @Lirac, Southern Rhone (Ground Zero)
    • 1869 @Bordeaux
    • 1990 @California
    • Vines Planted In Areas With Sandy Soils, Rocky Soils, Volcanic Soils.
    • Flood Plains (With the Ability to Flood the Vineyard and Drown the Vineyard and the Louse.)
    • Remote or Areas With Relative Isolation. With Segregated Vineyards.
    • High Altitude Vineyards.
    • Atacama, Chile     |     Barossa Valley,  Australia        
    • Columbia Valley, Washington     |     Salta, Argentina
    • Santorini, Greece     |      Canary Islands, Spain
    • Colares, Portugal     |     Mt. Etna, Italy
    • Sardinia, Italy      |      Mosel, Germany
  • WINE & PHILOSOPHY? Was Phylloxera Which Was Called by Many… The Biggest Catastrophe In the History of Napa Wine. Actually Good For the Wine Napa Wine Industry.  Napa Had to Look at the Fundamental Processes of Growing Vines, and Forced Grape Growers to Pull and Replant Old Compromised Vines!”
    • NOOverall There’s Nothing Good About an Insect Devastating an Entire Crop In Napa and Around the World and All the Peoples Livelihood That Was Associated With the Louse.
    • YESBetween 1989 to 1994 In the Wake of the Phylloxera Epidemic Grape Grower Got a Chance to Take a Strong Look Their Viticultural Practices.  During the Replanning and Replanting Phase Napa Growers Took the Opportunity to Plant Their Vineyards With the Correct Virus Free Varieties With the Correct Rootstock In the Correct Soils, Climates With Better Row Orientation and Vine Spacing That Were Known to Be Better Suited For the Region. Also They Got the Chance to Put the Grapes Where They Belonged: Get the Riesling Out of Calistoga and Into Carneros, and Also Get the Cabernet Sauvignon Out of Carneros Where It Didn’t Ripen Well and Replant In Warmer Sites.
  • WINE & PHILOSOPHY?  Did A Variety of Issues Lead the Phylloxera Out-Break of the 1980’s In California?”
    • Irrigation Which Was Introduced In the 1970’s Didn’t Challenge the Roots to Go Deep In Search of Water Which Was Readily Available at the Surface. This Coupled With the Massed Produced AXR-1 Rootstock Which Was Promoted by UC. Davis as Phylloxera Resistant Was Not.

PHEROMONES- Insects Use Sex Pheromones to Communicate For Mating. By Permeating the Vineyard With Synthetic Pheromones, Olfactory Communication and Mate-Finding Can be Disrupted or Even Prevented.

  • Pheromones Are Species-Specific and Non-Toxic.
  • Concentrated In Small Plastic Containers the Size of a Match-Book and Are Hung In the Vineyard On Every Row of Vines.

Technology Doesn’t Replace Walking Your Vineyard.


Insects, Some With Mouths That Can Chew or Cut Holes In Leaves and Grapes or Bore Into Stems Can Ruin a Crop or the Entire Vineyard. Vine Pests Can Cause 2 Kinds of Damage, First is Direct Injury to the Vine by Feeding on the Leaves, Shoots, Roots, and Grapes.  The Second is Indirect Damage to the Vine by Transmitting a Bacterial, Viral or Fungal Infection to the Vine.  The Best Pest Management Program Consists of 1) Monitoring the. Population so the Pest Species In the Vineyard. 2) Using Action to Control or Eliminate Pest.

    • Sharpshooters- Glassy-Winged, Blue-Green, Willow, Smoke-Tree, Red-Headed
    • Climbing Cutworms
    • Cane Borer
    • Rootworm
    • Leaffolder
    • Green June Beetle
    • Leafhoppers   |   Mealybugs
    • Mites   |   Thrips
    • Yellow Jackets
  • INSECTS- Vertebrates Vs. Invertebrates


FUNGAL DISEASE Large Group of Fungal Pathogens Caused by Micro-Organisms.  The Best Practices For Diagnosing and Treating Most Rot and Fungus Infections.

  • Keep Your Vineyard Clean.  In High Humidity Areas Regular Organic Fungicide Sprays Can Be Key For Keeping the Vineyard In Check.
  • Open Up Your Vineyards Canopy After Fruit Set, While Not Allowing Too Much Direct Sunlight.

ROOT-ROT General Term For Vines Affected by a Variety of Causes.

BUNCH ROT General Term For Grapes Affected by a Variety of Causes.

BLACK-ROT Guignardia Bidwelli, Black Rot is a Fungus That Can Impact Wine Grapes, Mostly In Hot, Humid Conditions

COLLAR-ROT/ PYTHIUM FUNGAS Attacks Young Vines Growing In Cool Moist Soils.

CROWN GALL Arobacterium Vitis-



ANTHRACNOSE Elsince Ampelina- Fungus Will Leave Shot-Hole Appearance On Vine.


BOTRYTIS CINEREA  Grapes Develop Mold/ Rot, When Humidity is High. Fungal Spore Attacks Grapes Reducing Water Content, Increasing Sugars, Acids and Concentration of Flavors Such as Sweet, Rich, Syrupy, Apricot, Honey.

  • Botrytis Cineria Develops After Veraison When Morning Rain and Humidity is Followed by Sunny Afternoon, or by Extended Periods of Moist Humidity Without Sunlight.
  • If Botrytis Develops Before Veraison It’s Now Longer Noble, It’s Called Gray Rot.
  • AKA=Noble Rot, Botrytis is Called Gray-Rot When it Non Benevolent
  • **Refer to WINE STYLES/ SWEET WINE/ Botrytis For Detailed Information.

MILDEW Various Fungi Disease That Cause Severe Damage to Vineyards if Not Treated or Prevented.

DOWNY MILDEW/ PERONOSPERA (Dependent on Moisture) Fungal Disease Active In.

  • Climate- Wet, Humid, Spring Rain Followed by Warmth and Humidity.

POWDERY MILDEW/ ODIUM (Not Dependent on Moisture)

  • Climate- Likes Dryer Climates, Hot Days, Cool Nights.
  • Leaves Turn Powdery Greyson-White, Dehydrates.
  • Bordeaux Mixture- Copper and Sulfur Blended and Applied to Prevent Vine Disease.


  • Sulfur- Organic Plant Fungicide That’s a Finely Ground Wettable Powder.  It’s Effective Against Powdery Mildew, Rust, Scab, Brown Rot.
  • Mancozeb- Provides Protectant Control of Black Rot, Downy Mildew and Phomopsis.
  • Captan- Provides Protective Control of Phomopsis, Downy Mildew, and Other Summer Rots.
  • Rally- Provides Effective Control of Powdery Mildew, Black Rot, and Post-Infection Antiporulant.


  • In the Past a Lot of the Vineyards In the World Have a Minor Virus Infection. Plants Are Now Propagated Free of Viral Infection.
  • Viruses Wine Retard Ripeness and Negatively Effects Yields.
  • General Term For 9 Different Virus Species Associated With Grape-Vine Leaf Roll Disease.
  • Infected Vines Produce Smaller Clusters That Ripen Unevenly and Contain Lower Sugar Content.
  • Vector- An Organism, Typically a Bitting Insect That Transmits a Disease or Parasite From One Plant to Another.
    • Control of the Disease Requires Control of the Insect Vectors.


  • Bacterial Disease(Xylella Fastifiosa) Spread by The Vector the Sharpshooter Insect(Glassy Winged, Red-Heated and Blue-Green). While Bitting Grape Vine For Hydration Leave Behind a Bacterial That Shuts Down the Plants Vascular System Preventing Transfer of Moisture and Nutrients.  The Treat of Pierces Disease is an Annual Issue, Some Years the Outbreak is Worse Than Other Years.  Extremely Hot Season and Draught Years Can Lead to Greater Population of Sharpshooters.  Grapes Are a Major Crop Effected, But Other Crops Such as Citrus Almonds and Olives Can Surcome to the Sharpshooters and the Disease.
  • VITICULTURE SOLUTION– Innovative Topical Application Called Admire is Applied to the Grapevine Discourage the Sharp-Shooter.
  • ~Etymology~ Named After Newton Pierce Who Recovered the Disease Near the End of the 1800’s.
  • Yellow Stiky Tape-  Tape That is About 1 Foot Tall and Stretches Across a Vineyard Row. The Yellow Color Attracts Insects and They Stick On the Tape.  It Does Attract and Trap a Variety of Insects Such as Gnats, Flies, Aphids and Others But the Main Benefit is You Can Monitor Which Pest Are Flying Through Your Vineyard and if Any Are Dangerous to Your Crop or Are Vectors of Certain Diseases.

LEAF ROLL VIRUS Vine Disease That Changes the Metabolic Characteristics of the Vine and Prohibits Optimal Ripening.

  • Leafroll Affected Vines May have a Difficult. Time Ripening Fruit.
  • The Virus is Phloem-Limited.  So it Reduces the Transport of /sugar and Nutrients Within the Vine.
  • Leafroll Vector- Mealybugs

RED BLOTCH VIRUS Grape-Vine Virus Associated With Disease Symptoms Which is Called or Referred to as Red Blotch Disease.

  • Red Blotch Infects the DNA. of the Vine and Effects Different Varietals Differently.  Symptoms Start to Appear In Late Summer/ August-September and Appear an Irregular Blotches On Leaf Blades or Portions of Shoots and the Veins Turn Red. The Grapes Then Appear to Have a Reduction In the Brix Levels of Affected Vines. Red Blotch Affected Vine s Seem to Have an Impossible Time Ripening Fruit.
  • Red Blotch Vector- 

PHOMOPSIS VITICOLA- AKA=Dead Arm/ Die Back/ Eutypa

  • Vines Become Infected Through Fresh Wounds Such as Those Made During the Prunning Process. The Fungus Grows Slowly Through the Cordon and Trunk Eventually Discoloring the killing the Wood.  Infected Grapevines Gradually Decline and Vine Eventually Die Over Time.  This Disease Usually Occurs In Cool Climates
    • Areas Effected- Barossa Valley, New Zealand

FANLEAF VIRUS Plant Pathogenic Virus of the Family Secoviridae

  • Deforms, Degeneration and Distorts Leaves. (Yellow Mosaic/ Vein Banding Pattern)
  • Effects Grape Bunches and Fruit-Set.
  • No Control For Infected Vineyards, Must Be Pulled and Replanted.
  • Oldest Known Virus Disease
  • Fanleaf Blotch Vector-  Nematode





  • Heat Treatment
  • Clean Bud-Wood
  • Aquire Certified Cutting

WEEDS A Plant Out of Place, Usually a Sign of Poor Sight Management.

  • Weeds Inhibits Growth of  Young Vines, Compete For Water and Nutrients and Can Effect Yield and Quality of Bunches.
  • Herbicide- Group of Chemical or Organic Chemicals Used to Control Weed Growth In Vineyards. Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture Discourages the Use of Herbicides Due to Toxins.
  • In Some Cases Cover Crops Are Deliberately Grow Between Vine Rows.


Sites Where Boars, Rabbits, Deer, Badgers, Baboons and Numerous Rodents. If Land Based Predators Are Expected to Be an Issue a Perimeter is Usually Installed. Nets and Fences are Often the Used and Installed to Multiple Feet Into the Drown and Extending Over 10 Feet Height.

  • WALLS/ Clos- Walls Add Protection Against Predators Like Boars, Rabbits, Deer, Badgers, Baboons and Numerous Rodents. If Land Based Predators Are Expected to be an Issue a Perimeter is Usually Installed. Nets and Fences Are Often the Used and Installed to Multiple Feet Into the Drown and Extending Over 10 Feet Height.
    • Clos- French Term For Enclosure of a Vineyard. Burgundy Has Most of it Vineyards Walled Off With Clos In the Form of Hand Made Stone Walls That Date Back to the Monks That Progress Viticulture 1,000 Years Ago.
  • DEER FENCE- Fence Specially Designed to Keep Out Deer of an Enclosed Area. Deer Fence Are Made of a Combination of Wood and Metal.  These Deer Fence That Enclose Vineyards or Wineries and 8 Feet Tall and Have a Double Piece Wood Top to Distract or Deter the Deer.

Everything Likes to Eat Grape.



  • Bird Netting- Netting that Can Cover Each Row to Deter Flocking Bird From Feeding.
  • Often is the Case Where the Birds Aren’t  the Major Problem. After the Passing Birds Eat a Few Grapes and Move On, the Broken Berries Either On the Ground or Still On the Vine Will Attract Fruit Flies and Other Bugs That Will Come In an Infest/ Harm the Vineyard.
  • Holographic Bird Tape- AKA=Bird Tape, Mirror Tape, Flash Tape, Repeller Ribbon Tape Tied to Top Posts In Vineyards Use to Flash Blinding Light, and Make Noise When it Flaps In the Wind. This Multi-Sensory Attack On the Birds Scares Them Away From a Treated Area.
  • Loud Speakers- Speakers Are Set Up Through Out Vineyards and Systematically Plays the Sounds of Screeching Eagles or Shotgun Blasts.


  • Smoke From Fires Around Vineyards That Makes Its Way Into Grapes Making the Wine Taste Smokey. Smoke Taint Doesn’t Come Across Like the Subtle Toasty Smokey Notes Given by a Wine Barrel or the Smokey Notes From a Zinfandel, But More Like an Ash-Tray Smell and Taste and is Considered Unpleasant.
  • It’s Not Just the Ash Residue Sitting Not the Grapes, the Vines Absorbed the Smoke and Infuses Into the Grapes.
  • The Compounds In Smoke Responsible For Smoke Taint Are Free Volatile Phenols That Are Produce When Wood In Burnt.  These Phenols Are Absorbed Directly By the Vine and Can Bind to the Grape Sugars Five Glycosides and Produce Smoky Aroma.  During Fermentation and Also Over Time In Barrel or In Bottle These Glycosides Can Break Down Releasing the Volatile Phenols Into the Must or Into the Wine, Allowing The Smoky Flavors to Be Perceived.  These Glycosides Can Be Absorbed In the Mouth of Drinkers Releasing Volatile Phenols Giving the Perception of Smoke Taint.
  • If Vines Are Exposed to Smoke the Grapes and Leaves Absorbed the Smoke and Aromas.  The Smoke Taint Doesn’t Come Through When Eating a Newly Pick Grape But Comes Out After Fermentation.
  • Smoke Taint Can Ruin a Wine But There is No Evidence That It Will Make a Drinker Sick.
  • Volatile Phenols That Produce Smoke Taint- 4-Methyl-Guaiacol, Syringol, M-Cresol, O-Cresol, P-Cresol
  • Smoke Taint Descriptors Smoky, Burnt, Medicinal, Ashy
      • Smokiness In Wine Can Come Through In 4 Ways, Be Sure to Mentally Evaluate Each Before Making a Decision On if a Wine is Effected by Smoke Taint.
    • 1) Primary Aromas- From the Grape Itself. (Syrah, Zinfandel Are Naturally Smokey)
    • 2) Secondary Aromas- Use of Oak Barrels. (Especially Chard Barrels Will Infuse Smokiness.)
    • 3) Tertiary Aromas- As Wine Aging it May Develop Smokiness or Cigar Box Aromas.
    • 4) External Forces- Smoke Taint From Fires Effecting the Grape Growing Areas.
  • WINE & PHILOSOPHYThe Ash From Fires In Wine Area and Around Vineyards is Bad, But is the Ash the Fires Leave Behind a Good Thing For the Overall Soils In the Vineyard?
    • No Question Fires Around Vineyards is Bad and it Leads to Smoke Taint Which Ruins Wine, But the Regeneration That Ash Brings to the Soils Profile Can Be Seen as a Positive Thing.


  • The Amount of Smoke Taint Depends On the Intensity, the Duration and the Timing or the Smoke Depending On the Life Cycle the Vine is Going Through.
  • Hand Harvest Fruit, Minimize Breaking or Rupturing the Grape Skins.
  • Avoid Leafs During Harvest, the Leaf is the Part of Vine That Takes In the Smoke and Has the Highest Amount of Smoke Absorbed.
  • Try to Minimize the Transfer of Smoke Compounds From the Grape Skin to the Must. This is Easier For Whites and Rose Which See Limited or No Skin Maceration.
  • Volatile Phenols Reside In the Skins of Grapes.  If There is a Chance of Smoke Taint In the Wine Winemakers Can Produce White and Rose Wines Which Are Pressed Off Their Skins Immediately.
  • Keep Fruit Cool During Fermentation. Less Extraction of Smoke Related Compounds Are Released at Cool Temperature.
  • Separate Press Fractions. There Are less Extraction of Phenolic Contaminants From Smoke In Certain Pressings.
    • The Free Run Juice (The First 400 Liters Per Ton) Should Have Minimal Effect.
  • Use New Oak On Your Wine.  Oak Can Reduce Intensity of Smoke Characteristics By Enhancing the Wine Complexity.
  • Drink the Wine Early. Smoke Taint Can Volitize and Be Released Over Time or Evolve In the Bottle.
  • Smoke Exposure Research-
    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service is Collaborating a Research Effort With UC. Davis, Oregon State and Washington State to Study the Issues Affecting Wildfire On Grape Production Areas.

**Refer to BIBLIOGRAPHY/ Sources For Details On Scholarly Works Referenced.