Heard on the Grapevine: Crop Protection Products Essential
April 23, 2014
Food Quality & Nutrition
Almost all celebrations deserve a toast – and grape quality is vital to creating a top quality wine. The quality of grapes can be significantly affected by disease, and farmers rely on crop protection products to help keep their wine grapes healthy and productive.
In France, for example, one grape disease has been catastrophic because it reduces vine life, grape yields and wine quality due to high-acid, low-sugar fruit from infected plants. The disease spreads rapidly, affecting up to 80 to 100 per cent of vines within a few years. It has already destroyed large viticultural areas in France and Corsica. As a result, the French government has mandated the use of crop protection products to control the disease.
France has about 35 per cent of the global market share of wine, so keeping grapes healthy is critical to its economy and to the world’s enjoyment of wine.
Australia, now the fourth largest exporter of wine around the world, can sympathize. Farmers there rely on fungicides to control a fungus [CP CASE 030] that is widespread in all grape-growing districts and could greatly impact the wine industry if untreated. Minimizing diseased fruit augments the quality and taste of wine. Although still many years away from the vineyard, plant biotechnology researchers are working to develop vine grapes that are resistant to destructive fungal diseases.