Despite potential for disease, Georgia’s grape industry is thriving

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Georgia’s grape industry, once dormant, is now thriving, according to Phillip Brannen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fruit plant pathologist. Growing potential for prosperity in the wine industry will require that farmers stay vigilant about certain diseases, like Pierce’s disease, that could negatively impact production.

“Pierce’s disease is the major disease to limit European grapes in Georgia. It is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted by numerous sharpshooter insects, such as the glassy-winged sharpshooter. It clogs the grape xylem, cutting off nutrient and water flow,” Brannen said. Continue reading

Natural cocktail used to prevent, treat disease of wine grapes

It’s happy hour at a lab in College Station. The cocktail of choice, developed by scientists with Texas A&M AgriLife Research, is one that stops or prevents the deadly Pierce’s disease on wine grapes.

The discovery could turn a new leaf on the multimillion-dollar U.S. wine industry. Hear, hear.

The study, published in the academic journal PLOS-ONE, describes the use of four bacteriophages that were identified for their ability to attack the bacteria that causes the devastating disease in grapes and several other plants. Continue reading