Ningxia destroys 7,000 disease-stricken vines

Ningxia has destroyed 7,000 grapevines after they were found to be infected with leafroll virus, the same disease that wrecked havoc in South African vineyards in the 20th century and early 2000s, the province’s Bureau of Grape Industry Development has revealed.

7,000 vines in Ningxia infected with leafroll virus were burnt and destroyed (Photo credit: Ningxia News)

This is the first joint action carried out by Ningxia’s Bureau of Grape Industry Development and its Forest Pest Management and Quarantine Station after they signed an agreement on 15 February to monitor and regulate its premium winemaking region Helan Mountain East Foothills vineyards’ environment, vine nursery, trademark use and wine quality, reported local official Chinese news site Ningxia News.

From 22 to 24 March, the wine bureau assessed samples from 22 varieties and 612 rootstocks and nursery vines submitted by Pernod Ricard, China’s leading domestic winery, Great Wall, and three other local companies, and found two batches of nursery vines submitted by two of the companies were infected with leafroll virus types 1 and 3, prompting the bureau to destroy 7,000 vine stocks.

This type of grapevine disease is caused by a strain of virus that can reduce vine yields and result in unripe grapes, and is known to be spread by mealy bugs through the use of infected plant material during grafting. The virus is more commonly associated with red wine varieties and the infected vines will have leaves that curl up around the edges. South Africa was most prominently affected by this problem in the vineyards.

According to professor Gui Pei Wen from Ningxia University, this type of virus, identified as one of the main viruses affecting vines in Ningxia, often occurs between July and September.

Based on figures released from the Ningxia Wine Industry Development bureau, in the past four years, it has destroyed 547,000 vines affected by various diseases.

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