Grape phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae) is one of the greatest biosecurity threats to vineyards in South Australia, including the McLaren Vale wine region.
This tiny insect pest destroys grapevines by feeding on their roots. Once vines are infested, they will die within six years.
More than 70% of vines in South Australia are susceptible to phylloxera attack, as they are planted on their own roots rather than phylloxera-tolerant rootstock. Once vines are infested, they will die within six years.
There is no eradicative treatment, so infested vineyards must be replanted on phylloxera-tolerant rootstock. Replanting infested vineyards on phylloxera-tolerant rootstock is a costly exercise at around $60,000/hectare (calculated in 2017 by Vinehealth Australia and benchmarked against industry standards), and replanted vines will take about three years to produce a crop and longer to mature. *
South Australia including McLaren Vale has some of the oldest grapevines in the world due to the absence of phylloxera. This rich tapestry of old vine material must be protected. The absence of phylloxera means that growers in the region can still grow grape vines on their own roots, unlike most of the winegrowing regions of the world. In McLaren Vale most of the vineyards, including our oldest vines, are grown this way. South Australia, is a designated ‘phylloxera-free’ zone.
The McLaren Vale Phylloxera & Biosecurity Committee work with Vinehealth Australia – an industry advocate in vine biosecurity – to develop programs, practices and information to support and enforce the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Act 1995 ensuring McLaren Vale’s vineyards and heritage is protected.
As a visitor to the McLaren Vale you also have the power to keep our vines safe. Your shoes, clothing and vehicles can pick up and spread pests and diseases, including phylloxera. We ask you to help protect the vines that make our special wines: please do not enter vineyards without permission.
Resources from Vinehealth Australia
- Map – download a digital version of the Phylloxera Management Zones map here
- ‘Who’s hitchhiking with you’ video - click here
- ‘Please don’t walk amongst our vines’ video - click here
For further information on Phylloxera and Australia’s grapevine biosecurity practices, visit the Vinehealth Australia website.