By Gary L Peters
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Extra resources for American Winescapes: The Cultural Landscapes Of America's Wine Country
Npestris,Etis cordif@lid, and Etis ciner-g&,tthough today they are important for their roes, not for their grapes. Let's return briefly now to that ugliest of Americans, phylloxera vastatrix, a tiny aphid, sometimes called a root louse, that likes few things better than juicy Etif ai~zlfel-oroots. Phylloxera, which has not naturally occurred in either of the native California species, is native to h e r i c a n gapevines east of the Rocky Mountains, which are resistant to it as a result of long exposure.
Herican species of vines. iu were especially resistant to phylloxera; tjle transieon to American rc>r:>tstocks,tlowever, was to be neither rapid nor cheap. Gradually, however, in France and throughout most of Europe, healthy grapevines again appeared in the vineyards, growing now on American roots. Today, the use of phylloxera-resistant rootstock remains the only way to control phylloxera. Since about 1980, a new form of phylloxera, known as Type B, has emerged in California's hTapa Valley, where most vines had been planted on AxR#I, a rootstock that was thought to be phylloxera resistant but proved unresistant to this new snain.
Anlerican wine makers have recently awakened to new viticultural and enological possibilities offered by Italian vines. Although many Italian cultivars, including Barbera, have been grown in California for decades and some Barbera vines can even be MAJOR CULTIVARS W I A M E R I C A N V I N E Y A R D S TODAY 3y found in New Mexico and Texas, there has recently been a trend toward using cultivars such as Nebbiolo (from Piedmont) and Sangiovese (from Tuscany), both of which are at the apex of wine quality in Italy.