World’s worst wine disasters

Chilean earthquake 2010

2010_Chile_earthquake_-_Car_destroyed_in_TemucoIn 2010 Chile was hit by a devastating earthquake killing 800 people and causing scores of winemakers to halt production over damage to their stocks and facilities.

Concha y Toro, Chile’s biggest winemaker, was among the winemakers to suspend production and logistics operations for at least a week after several of its wineries, located in one of the worst affected areas hundreds of miles south of the capital Santiago, suffered serious damage. Eduardo Guilisasti, Concha y Toro CEO, called it a “catastrophe” which had struck the “heartland” of Chile’s wine industry.

The 8.8 earthquake ripped through swathes of Chile’s Central Valley with 100 million bottles of wine, about a sixth of the country’s annual exports valued at US$300 million, thought to be lost.

The total cost of the quake to Chile’s economy was estimated at $30 billion.

2 Responses to “World’s worst wine disasters”

  1. Ducourt says:

    1956, the extreme frost wiped out 80% of all vineyards between Bordeaux and Languedoc

  2. Richard Smart says:

    Who wrote this about phylloxera…So many mistakes.

    There are several books on the subject, and a fulsome entry in the Oxford Companion to wine.

    Phylloxera did not come close “to killing every vine on the European continent, and all of its grape varieties”. There are experimental vineyards in France, on sandy soils, still own-rooted.
    Phylloxera was reported in a London glasshouse, and did not “devastate British vineyards”, probably the majority of which, and there are many more now, remain free of phylloxera.

    Burying toads under vines, which might be praised today as “biodynamic”, was one of many bizarre solutions offered for prize money. The solution was to graft to resistant American rootstocks. Sadly the author of the article confuses this process with “hybridisation” which is a sexual crossing of two varieties.

    Phylloxera is controllable by grafting on resistant rootstocks, and many but not all vines are planted this way. The vineyards of Chile are free of phylloxera, as are the great majority in Australia.

    I have recently written an article suggesting that grapevine trunk diseases pose a greater threat to the worlds vineyard than phylloxera. If you are going to include vineyard pests and diseases in “the worlds worst wine disasters”, trunk diseases and maybe red blotch virus are major omissions.

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