When a group of moths destroys an entire vineyard’s crop – as happened last fall in the Napa Valley – you take it seriously.
The insect in question is the European grapevine moth, and its introduction in California has growers and winery owners throughout the North Coast region nervous.
According to a report by Robert Digitale in the Press Democrat newspaper of Santa Rosa, Calif., it’s possible that more than a third of the vineyards in Mendocino County will come under quarantine in an effort to eradicate the unwelcome visitors.
That’s about 6,000 acres in all.
And that’s in addition to an estimated 30,000 acres that could come under quarantine in Sonoma County.
Thus far in neighboring Napa County, some 30,000 of the moths have been trapped, but traps alone probably won’t stop the infestation. Spraying may be necessary to kill any moth eggs in the impacted area.
The recession has hit the wine industry hard, and the appearance of the European grapevine moth is like a boxer getting a hard punch to the stomach right after enduring a left cross to the jaw.
To carry the boxing metaphor to its logical conclusion, here’s hoping growers and ag officials can score a knockout punch before the moths do any more damage to the North Coast winegrape crop.