There was a time in wine making history (1870s) where French vineyards were being wiped out by a nasty American microscopic aphid type insect; grape phylloxera. (The sneaky bug stowed away on cargo ships) The “Great French Wine Blight” was the time everyone feared would be the end of the European wine industry.
Photo from British Satire Magazine “Punch”
Scientists from around the world gathered to try and find a solution to the problem. They had accepted the fact there would be no way to eradicate the insect once established, so they would need to figure out a way to “just live with it.”
Some American rootstock were completely immune to the grape vine root munching insects. By taking French vines and grafting them to the phylloxera immune American rootstock, healthy grapes were able to be produced.
Millions of rootstock were sent from Missouri to France and the French wine industry started its slow climb back to its full wine power!
Photo from experiencehermann.com
In honor of the success, a statue of a young woman cradling an older woman in her arms was built in Montpellier, France to signify “the new world saving the old world.”
Young Woman Cradling an Older Woman Statue in Montpellier Photo from winetravelstories.com
Besides listening to stories from the amazing people who call Hermann, MO home as I explored the wine trail, here are the websites I got more of my information from