A new outbreak of phylloxera was declared in Australia’s Yarra Valley last month.
According to Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries, ‘a detection of the grapevine pest phylloxera has been made in an existing control area in the Yarra Valley, north east of Melbourne’.
The so-called Maroondah Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) was declared after phylloxera was detected in the region in December 2006.
The declaration restricts the movement of grapevine materials, machinery and equipment out of the PIZ.
Senior DPI plant standard officer Greg King said that following a recent notification of poor vigour in a number of vines, ‘samples were taken from the affected vines and DPI’s reference entomologist confirmed the presence of the pest’.
The Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia is the only body of its type in the world established specifically to deal with phylloxera.
It publishes information on recognising phylloxera and warns that detections tend to be made up to several years after the initial occurrence of the infestation.
Grape growers in other regions, especially those who have had regular contact with the Yarra Valley or with high volumes of wine tourism, have been advised to be particularly vigilant in looking for signs of phylloxera.
Phylloxera is a small yellow root-feeding aphid. It only targets grapevines, which it kills by attacking their roots.
Written by Guy Seddon