Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Grapevine Virus Screening Saves Napa-Sonoma $60M

Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Providing disease-free grapevines and rootstock to California’s famed North Coast wine region is money-wise to the tune of more than $60 million annually.

To quantify this benefit, the researchers developed an economic framework to conduct a case study of grapevine leafroll-3, the dominant grapevine virus in California and worldwide. They report their findings in a working paper released by the Center for Wine Economics at UC Davis’ Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. The complete paper is available online.

“This analysis places a dollar value on the efforts to prevent the spread of just a single disease in a single grape-growing region,” said Kate Binzen Fuller, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis. “The overall benefits of such testing and certification are, in fact, dramatically higher,” she said.

Fuller added that the study revealed that the monetary benefits of such screening efforts far outweigh the costs related to screening and vine replacement.

“Even if growers have to pay a premium for certified, virus-free vines, this study suggests that they will receive a very large benefit. For the scenarios we evaluated, benefits are between six and 10 times the cost,” she said.

Viral threat to grapevines

Viruses and related disease-causing microbes pose a serious threat to agriculture because there are no effective controls available to growers, other than destroying infected plants. In the case of grapevines, viruses typically spread over long distances through the movement of infected plants or the use of infected cuttings and rootstock for propagating new plants.

Grapevine leafroll-3 appears in multiple strains, most causing leaves to redden and roll under along the edges. The disease diminishes fruit production and quality as grapes develop less pigmentation and sugar and mature more slowly. Growers have reported drops in yield of 30 percent and more; in some cases the disease even causes the plant graft to fail, killing the young vine.

The virus primarily is transmitted to the vine by mealybugs, tiny insects that are commonly found in California vineyards. Growers try to prevent grapevine leafroll-3 by testing their existing vines, using virus-free rootstocks and cuttings to grow new vines, removing diseased vines and spraying for mealybugs.

Screening plants for viruses

To prevent the introduction and spread of such viruses in grapevines, several clean-plant centers have been established throughout the United States, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to provide a large inventory of virus-screened plants to agricultural nurseries and growers.

In California, the Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis is responsible for screening and reproducing healthy, disease-free grapevines, as well as strawberries, fruit and nut trees, roses and sweet potatoes.

This meticulous process takes five to nine years and is costly, with expenses covered by revenue from plant sales to nurseries, several types of plant user fees, as well as custom contracts and virus testing.

Costs and benefits

The economic model created for this study by the UC Davis researchers compared the estimated value of losses incurred by North Coast winegrape growers due to grapevine leafroll disease with the estimated benefits realized by using vines that were certified to be virus-free. They did this by estimating what a grower’s net revenue would be in several different scenarios, based on initial disease appearance, disease spread, use of certified or noncertified vines, and replacement or nonreplacement of diseased vines.

“Results from applying this model indicate that, for the scenarios we examined, the most economically beneficial strategy is to plant initially with certified clean vines and to replace any vines that become diseased also with certified clean vines,” said study co-author Deborah Golino, a Cooperative Extension plant disease specialist and the director of Foundation Plant Services.

The researchers found that the average annual benefit to a grower from replacing diseased vines in a vineyard was 39 cents per vine or $512 per acre, if noncertified vines or rootstocks were used in both the initial and replacement plantings. The benefit for replanting diseased vines climbed to 55 cents per vine or $727 per acre if certified plant material was used to both plant and replant the vineyard.

Overall, the researchers estimate that, for just grapevine leafroll-3 virus, the vine certification program yields a benefit of between 30 cents and 47 cents per vine, or between $401 and $616 per acre. If all growers in the region were to use certified planting stock, this would translate to a benefit of between $40.4 and $61.8 million per year for the North Coast region. This benefit translates to between 4.8 percent and 7.4 percent of the wine grape revenue for that region.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Printed "Smart Cap" Detects Spoiled Food
It might not be long before consumers can just hit “print” to create an electronic circuit or wireless sensor in the comfort of their homes.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
DNA Sequencing Lifts Veil on Wine’s Microbial Terroir
It’s widely accepted that terroir — the unique blend of a vineyard’s soils, water and climate — sculpts the flavor and quality of wine.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Math Sheds Light on a Long-Studied Biological Process
One of the most basic and intensively studied processes in biology has gained a new level of understanding, thanks to the application of simple math.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
Center Targets Ocean Contaminants and Human Health
A new center based at UC San Diego will target emerging contaminants found naturally in common seafood dishes as well as man-made chemicals that accumulate in human breast milk.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
100K Pathogen Genome Project Maps First Genomes
UC project announced that it has sequenced the genomes of its first 10 infectious microorganisms, including strains of Salmonella and Listeria.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Study Finds Potential Medical Uses for Algae
Can scientists rid malaria from the Third World by simply feeding algae genetically engineered with a vaccine?
Monday, April 22, 2013
In Battle of the Cells, the best Toxins Win
There's an epic battle taking place that's not on the national radar: intercellular competition.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Quantity of Sugar in Food Supply Linked to Diabetes Rates
Eating too much of any food, including sugar, can cause you to gain weight; it’s the resulting obesity that predisposes people to diabetes, according to the prevailing theory.
Friday, March 01, 2013
Study Finds High Exposure to Food-borne Toxins
Researchers measured food-borne toxin exposure in children and adults by pinpointing foods with high levels of toxic compounds and determining how much of these foods were consumed.
Friday, November 16, 2012
$8.4 Million for Food Grain and Alternative Fuel Research
UC Davis plant scientist Eduardo Blumwald is reaching out to feed and fuel the world.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Scientific News
The MaxSignal Colistin ELISA Test Kit from Bioo Scientific
Kit can help prevent the antibiotic apocalypse by keeping last resort drugs out of the food supply.
Kitchen Utensils Can Spread Bacteria Between Foods
In a recent study researchers found that produce that contained bacteria would contaminate other produce items through the continued use of knives or graters—the bacteria would latch on to the utensils commonly found in consumers' homes and spread to the next item.
GMO Food Animals Should be Judged by Product, Not Process
In a world with a burgeoning demand for meat, milk and eggs, regulatory policies around the use of biotechnologies in agriculture need to be based on the safety and attributes of those foods rather than on the methods used to produce them, says a UC Davis animal scientist.
Acetaldehyde and Formaldehyde Content in Foods
Korean researchers have determined the content of the toxic and carcinogenic aldehydes, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, in a variety of food groups.
Increasing Vitamin D Supplementation
New study from ETH Zurich finds that elderly women should consume more vitamin D than previously recommended during the winter months.
IARC Monographs Evaluate Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat
Processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
Nanoparticles in Foods Raise Safety Questions
Nanoparticles can make foods like jawbreaker candies brighter and creamier and keep them fresh longer. But researchers are still in the dark about what the tiny additives do once inside our bodies.
Arsenic Found in Many U.S. Red Wines
A new University of Washington study that tested 65 wines from America’s top four wine-producing states — California, Washington, New York and Oregon — found all but one have arsenic levels that exceed what’s allowed in drinking water.
Viruses Join Fight Against Harmful Bacteria
Engineered viruses could combat human disease and improve food safety.
Plastic for Dinner
Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained man-made debris according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and Hasanuddin University in Indonesia.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos