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Love in Times of Pandemics

There are many "pandemics" in the history of wine. Among them, the Grape Phylloxera in the 19th century is the most destructive. Less than 1mm in length and parasitic on grape vines, the pest cause nodules on the vines hence the wounds fail to heal, eventually lead to other infections. It is wind-borne and very contagious. During the mid to late 19th century, up to two-thirds of France's vineyards were damaged, causing a loss of around 500 billion francs in France alone. After years of experimentation, grape growers finally found a way to graft the European grape vines onto the roots of the American grapes, of which the grape vines of the Americas are more resistant to the pest. Another simple yet effective way is to “isolate” the vines from plants, equipment and even grape growers that may carry the pest. The Chilean government enforces the “customs” policy, of which imports of plants must be cleared and disinfected in advance. Such quarantine measures prevented them from damages of Phylloxera. However, if there was one arrogant and stubborn grape grower refused to comply with the measures; there would not be any French wines to enjoy by now.


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