Grapevine viruses pose a severe threat to the sustainability of California viticulture.  Unfortunately, there is little faith in virus prevention at any level.  Growers are losing contract dollars as wineries reject grape loads due to virus-induced ripening problems.  The good news is that there are virus management strategies which growers can implement right now in the short-term, which can be taught through real-world, hands-on integrated outreach from a team of growers, extension personnel, PCAs, and scientists.  With the right communication, a long-term cooperative virus strategy can save the California industry from devastating future losses.

The Lodi Winegrape Commission has been actively studying the California grapevine virus situation since 2017.  The Commission’s Research, Education, & Communications Committee has formed two teams which have been instrumental in gathering information, creating educational materials, and offering real-world, practical outreach for our winegrowing community: the Lodi Mealybug Biocontrol Research Focus Group and the Lodi Grapevine Virus Research Focus Group.

The second annual Lodi Mealybug & Virus Outreach Meeting took place on April 4th, 2019, at the Stockton Cabral Ag Center.  We all learned a lot of practical advice from guest speakers Prof. Gerhard Pietersen (leafroll virus expert, South Africa), Dr. Marc Fuchs (virus expert, Cornell University), Dr. Kent Daane (mealybug expert, UCCE), and Dr. James Stamp (planting material expert, California).  Funding support from the American Vineyard Foundation and the CDFA PD/GWSS Board allowed us to professionally videotape their presentations and the Q&A panel, moderated by Aaron Lange (LangeTwins Family Vineyards & Winery) and including our guest speakers and Chris Storm (Vino Farms).


Guest speakers at the 2019 Lodi Mealybug & Virus Outreach Meeting



Below is a recording from the Lodi Mealybug & Virus Outreach Meeting on April 4th, 2019.  Funding for this meeting was provided by the American Vineyard Foundation, the CDFA PD/GWSS Board, the Lodi Winegrape Commission, and UCCE.  Over 250 people were in attendance and there are a lot of great take-home messages for virus management included in the videos below.







A message from Prof. Pietersen, after spending a week in Lodi:

“Thank you very much for the invitation to visit Lodi and to meet with growers.  I had a very enjoyable time there.  I am very confident that you and your growers will succeed in making good inroads into leafroll control, as the people I met were extremely passionate as well as knowledgeable in this regard, and also appeared to be willing to learn from each other too.” 


A full audience at the 2019 Lodi Mealybug & Virus Outreach Meeting.

Do you want to be added to our new grapevine virus email list-serv to stay informed about virus outreach?  Send an email to stephanie@lodiwine.com with the subject “virus email list.”

Further Reading

Highfill, B. “Lodi growers learning how to combat leafroll, other viruses that affect grapevines.” April 7, 2019. Stockton Record.

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