Chécy, Friends of the vine (Translation in progress)

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About phylloxera

f all the calamities vines and vineyards had to suffer over the ages, phylloxera was probably the most devastating, not only in Europe, but also in the new world, with Australia and South Africa affected as well.
In fact vines and vineyards are likely to be threatened by three main potential hazards:
  • Mildew: specific disease caused by a small white fungus, characterized by rustiness of the leaves,
  • Phylloxera: caused by a tiny yellowish aphid that sticks to the vineroots, sucking up their sap,
  • Frost: one more confirmation of the well-known risks involved by an excessive absorption of water…
In 1863, a strange phenomena marked by a suddden withering of the vines made its appearance in the vineyards of Gard, South-east of France. It spread so rapidly out that in a short time the totality of the European vineyard was affected.
Never, in the long history of agriculture, had a plant species been brought so abruptly to the verge of full destruction. Entire plots of land once covered with vineyards were suddenly transformed into desolate areas, with bundles of dead vinebranches relegated as firewood, lying on roadsides, awaiting to be led to the stake!
At the end of the 19th century, the phylloxera pest lurking in the roots had gobbled up the quasi totality of the French vineyards. At a time, the scourge was even suspected to be another blow coming from the local temperance leagues trying - devilishly - to turn wine into water on the table of the French!
Fortunately: "Might's Right" had the best and the right-thinking's morality did'nt have the final word. An efficient parry was found by creating phylloxera-resistant vines through grafting French vinestocks on phylloxera-resistant… american vinetstocks.
Once the beast unmasked and the remedy found, the struggle got rapidlly in order with the Loiret leading the battle with a laudable determination.
Rebuilding the French vineyard almost from scratch required an investment whose magnitude is rerely emphazised. It would cost to France as much as did the War of 1870!
Being roughly 12 Billions gold francs that'would amount to about 15 billions Euros to-day (give or take a few cents)
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