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CHAPTER 8

Pests and vine diseases

Throughout its life, the vine receives a great deal of pressure from pests and diseases which, if left uncontrolled, cause damage to the grape and decrease the yield. These can, in very serious cases, destroy the vineyard, causing devastation. This is the case, for example, with phylloxera, a small insect that between the 19th and 20th centuries almost completely destroyed the vineyards of the Old World.

In fact, a vine, due to its capacity to generate sugars and develop vegetatively, is an ideal medium to shelter or feed a very large number of animals and microorganisms: from viruses, bacteria, mites, nematodes and moths to weeds, birds, rabbits and wild boar.

To put it in perspective: a wild boar is 100,000 times larger and 760,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times heavier than a virus, but both are equally dangerous.

Winegrowers, with the help of pesticides and viticultural practices, combat these aggressors and pathogens by adopting different strategies: conventional, integrated, organic… How do these strategies differ?

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