European Grape Vine Moth, Lobesia botrana
The California Department of Agriculture has quarantined 162 square miles in the heart of California wine country, including portions of Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties. A larva of the European Grape Vine Moth (EGVM – Lobesia botrana) was captured in a trap near Oakville last September 15, marking the first appearance in North America of a pest native to Southern Europe, North Africa, Anatolia, and the Caucasus.
Suitcase smuggling of clone cuttings from top European vineyards in order to avoid sclerotic seven year USDA quarantines is rumored to have been used to create top-rated new vineyards during the 1980s, and informal evasion of the same regulations is rumored to be responsible for the recent arrival of EGVM.
AP and USDA officials are scolding and blaming scofflaws for the outbreak, noting that if the moth had arrived innocently via container ship, you’d expect to find the first examples around a port, not in the heart of Napa.
But Greg Clark, deputy agricultural commissioner for Napa County, actually hinted at deliberate introduction aimed at intentional sabotage of rival producers. “”Even small percentage or a fraction of a percentage in market share has the potential to benefit someone financially,” said Clark.
Quarantine map 1 – Napa
Quarantine map 2 – Napa, Napa/Solano
Quarantine map 3 – Yountville