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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

mildew on Alsace vine

The Alsatian vineyard under the onslaught of mildew

28.07.2021, News

The 15,600 hectares of Alsace vines are subjected to an unprecedented trial which combines fungal diseases in a downward spiral.

During the first six months of 2021, the Alsatian vineyard was watered by 600 to 720 mm of rain depending on the zone, as much as during a whole year. Precipitation accumulations were particularly high from July 11 to 13.

“Roots grow on the trunk of waterlogged soils, the anthills become aerial,” notes Frédéric Schwaerzler, wine advisor to the Chamber of Agriculture for Haut-Rhin. Mildew and powdery mildew have a blast. Along the wine route, the pressure is less strong in the north. It gets stronger as you move south, where the precipitation has been more abundant.

“There are healthy plots, others 100% affected. On average, 40% of the bunches are attacked by mildew,” notes Marie-Noëlle Lauer, wine advisor at the Chamber of Agriculture for Bas-Rhin, according to observations made in 100 control plots. “Powdery mildew, already present in Bas-Rhin, is spreading to Haut-Rhin, alone or associated with downy mildew. It is already showing itself sometimes in bunches. It should not be underestimated because we will be dragging it to the harvest,” she adds. “The brown rot is coming out everywhere,” adds Frédéric Schwaerzler.

By mid-July, conventional domains had been already sprayed six to seven times, their organic colleagues, ten to eleven times under less-than-optimal conditions. The rains particularly annoyed them during June, a month when the vegetation grew very quickly. Winemakers who fall behind in green work have been affected more. Tractors got stuck, even overturned, fortunately without consequences for their driver. “The damage to grapes is sometimes partial. Compensation by the remaining clusters is always possible,” notes Marie-Noëlle Lauer. A return of high humidity could, however, increase the risk of rotting and recrudescence of the Drosophila population.

Prepared by O. Hryhorieva based on vitisphere.com