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The Lush's Lament: We Almost Lost Wine Forever

THE LUSH'S LAMENT: WE ALMOST LOST WINE FOREVER HOW A TINY INSECT CAUSED MASS MIGRATION THE GREAT FRENCH WINE BLIGHT In the mid-19th century, an aphid (also known as "plant lice") was accidentally brought over from America to Europe. This sap-sucking insect tore through the countryside, and caused the destruction of the French and the larger European economy. How did such an in- significant insect cause so much havoc and lead to the migration of the French to America? The Thriving Grape AN ABUNDANCE OF WINE & VINEYARDS 1800 - |850 YUCK! Poor quality wine was increasingly produced in France due to lack of knowledge of improved wine making practices. However, Napoleon Bonaparte's Minister of the Interior implemented a technique to improve wine by adding sugar to increase alcohol levels. France enjoyed a period of economic prosperity due to their wine production. French wine became the benchmark. The upper middle class "bourgeoisie" emerged as classy consumers of wine. The Bug Arrives 1850s Grape phylloxera are insects that destroy cultivated plants by sucking the nutrients from the root and injecting deadly venom. That's pretty mean, right? NUTRIENTS The bug was introduced through botanical experiments with non-native, American plant species, and most European plants were defenseless to its attack. VENOM First Sighting in France 1858 -1868 The phylloxera was first seen in the former province of Languedoc, France in 1863. Over this 10 year period: 40% of French vineyards were destroyed by the grape phylloxera 50% Amount by which wages in the wine industry were reduce during this period Worry Spreads Across Europe French wine, once the pinnacle of wine in Europe, was feared to be lost forever. Spirits were so low, that the French described this period as another episode of "consump- tion" (tuberculosis). But instead of human lives lost, vineyards disappeared at an alarming rate. The Great Emigration During this period of the "Great French Wine Blight," workers lost their jobs, wages, and lands, and migrated to America and Algiers. 1870s What where their alternatives? Treat dying vineyards with expensive chemicals AMERICA Give up on vines, and switch to farming wheat and foraging crops ALGIERS Some who stayed were not satisfied with these two options.. The Grafting of the Vine Leo Laliman and Gaston Bazille found a solution to the wine blight. By using the root of the American grapevine, and the stem of the European grapevine, they created a species of grapevine that was resistant to the grape phylloxera. ROOT OF STEM OF THE AMERICAN EUROPEAN GRAPEVINE KIND POSITIVE IMPACT OF NEGATIVE IMPACT OF THE GRAFTED VINE: THE GRAFTED VINE: Europe could drink wine again! Self-rooted vines all but disappeared. France's economy started to rebuild. French wine did not taste the same after. People had an alcohol- ic option other than German / Belgian beer. Pre-1863 French wine bottles are sold at over $1000 per bottle today! Fortunately for the lushes, wine was not lost forever, and now everyone can buy an overpriced bottle at a fancy French restaurant. This story shows, though, that the tiniest of catalysts can make the biggest changes in the world. SOURCES HTTP://PENELOPE.UCHICAGO.EDU/-GROUT/ENCYCLOPAEDIA_ROMANA/WINE/WINE.HTML HTTP://www.ATHENAPUB.COM/AMPHORAI.HTM HTTP://www.WINETOURISMINFRANCE.COM/AN/GRANDESDATES. HTM HTTP://www.BRITANNICA.COM/EBCHECKED/TOPIC/329904/LANGUEDOC HTTP://www.WINEPORTFOLIO.COM/SECTIONLEARN-GREAT-FRENCH-WINE-BLIGHT.HTML M MocavO

The Lush's Lament: We Almost Lost Wine Forever

shared by WpromoteInc on Feb 25
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What in now potentially a footnote in world history, at one time had the potential to kill off every European vineyard and thus every European wine in existence. Learn about the Great French Wine Bli...


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