Definition - What does Blight mean?

Blight is term used to describe a form of vineyard pests or disease that can injure or disease plants through lesions. These lesions wither and kill plant parts such as leaves and tubers. During the mid 19th century, The Great French Wine Blight nearly wiped out the wine industry. That would be the equivalent of jeopardizing an industry is responsible for producing on average 40 billion bottles of wine in today’s time. Phylloxera was discovered to be the culprit by French botanist Jules-Émile Planchon, who had joined forces with officials and winegrowers to investigate the disaster that was affecting the French wine industry.

WineFrog explains Blight

Phylloxera is a microscopic louse or aphid that lives and eats roots of grape, naturally spreading from vineyard to vineyard by proximity. The origin of Phylloxera is said to be from the United States. In the 18th century, the Northern American wine industry began to flourish, and wine producers began to exporting American vines to France. This is believed to have triggered the Great French Blight. The first documented attack by phylloxera in a village of Pujaut, Languedoc, a former province in France.

A blight can also be caused by a disease that spreads rapidly, infecting vine crops and damaging entire areas of viticultural land, leading to a mass effect on the region's wine industry. Common infections that can cause a blight include:

  • Happy Disease (bacterial necrosis)
  • Pierce’s disease
  • Black measles
  • Little leaf
  • Rupestris speckle
  • Stem necrosis (water berry, grape peduncle necrosis)
  • Alfalfa mosaic
  • Arabis mosaic
  • Asteroid mosaic
  • Bratislava mosaic
  • Petunia asteroid mosaic
  • Shoot necrosis
  • Sowbane mosaic
  • Vein mosaic
  • Yellow speckle
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