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Would you drink GM wine?


Table of Contents:

  • If a modern-day plague swept across the world's vineyards, would GMOs be an option to stop it?

Frank’s last question regarding extinction is pressing. He references the phylloxera wine grape battle that was lost and won over 100 years ago in France. Arriving in France via a case of American vines from New York in 1862, phylloxera, a wine grape assassin, was unleashed in France’s vineyards and delivered a wine grape holocaust. The tiny creature bred with freakish speed, disrupting root function and opening the door for a host of secondary fungal pathogens — almost wiping out the French wine industry from 1860-1900. By 1884, growers had been forced to destroy 2.5 million vineyard acres. The end-times tale, filled with champions and charlatans, saw blame and solutions thrown together in a pell-mell panic (divine judgement, urine baths, iron contamination, volcanic ash applications, and scores more).
After decades of building futility, a solution was found: American rootstock, which had escorted phylloxera into France, was resistant to the aphid-like pest. Grafting of U.S. phylloxera-resistant rootstock to French vines put an end to the wine blight. The poison was the cure.
Frank closes with a fitting question: “If a modern-day phylloxera emerged, and nothing else worked, shouldn’t GMOs be an option?”


(See here for Mitch Frank's complete column.)


Follow me on Twitter: @CBennett71


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Discuss this Blog Entry 8

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 20, 2013

The gmo controversary is medival thinking. We all benefit from selectve breeding of plants and animals. The place where I agree it can have bad consequences is like some gmo corn that is good as food source but dried kernals cannot be used the next year to start that years crop. Important fact of science is that eating gmo food has zero negative impact on tne gut or the ingesting organism --man or other animals.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 21, 2013

You are drinking GMO wine! The grafted hybrid vines are the definition of genetically modified and they cannot resist disease. Look at the Napa disaster -- how many complete replants in the last three decades?!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 22, 2013

I am certain that any GMO wine would pair magnificently with many corn and soy based dishes.

but seriously...

I would not discriminate based upon GMO status, great wine is my pursuit. The forms of genetic modification which would aid growers in the vineyard would not affect winemakers in the cellar or consumers at the table whatsoever.

The terrorists who destroy valid research as mentioned in the article should be punished severly, I cannot think of a punishment that would be unsuitable for those demented individuals.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 29, 2013

Why not, anything that reduces the amount of chemicals used in the vineyards has to be a benefit. Like others have asked, "Isn't hybridizing genetically modificaation"?

on Sep 5, 2013

The GMO issue has been settled scientifically years ago: The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union: "The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular, GMO's, or no more risky than conventional plant breeding technologies."
Unfortunately, the average person thinks there is controversy where virtually none exists.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 5, 2013

in a word, NO.

What I know about wine, comes from the sale and marketing side. I can tell you with authority, wine sales will cliff if the industry starts playing with this.

GMO wine = sales disaster. No more complicated.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 7, 2013

People always have a fear of science. What is concerning is that they're so loud and aggressive. Rational people too often cower to the loudest most vile of this group.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 26, 2013

grafting plants together or splicing seeds is nothing like altering a plants genes.

GMO plants can produce seeds with the same altered DNA (with the benefits or problems). Grafted or spliced plants will create the seeds of one or the other or be infertile. Meaning we have to keep manually re-splicing for the next crop.

With wine vines and other long living plants/trees its practical as they can live for 100+ years.

I personally don't think we need GMO - it only seems to benefit the people who manufacture it and own the seeds that someone else nurtures from the the GMO crops. Yes countries are starving but there is more than enough food to go around if only it was distributed to those who need it and not those that can pay the most for it.

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