Friday, 17 May 2024

McGuire’s bill to combat Pierce’s disease in winegrape vines heads to Assembly

California’s wine industry is one of the biggest economic drivers for the state of California – creating jobs, encouraging tourism, and ensuring the preservation of agricultural land.

California is America’s No. 1 wine producer, making 81 percent of the wine in the United States, with more than 599,000 acres of winegrapes, with an estimated retail value of more than $35 billion in wine sales.

While the wine industry is thriving, its most important ingredient– the winegrape – is susceptible to a range of diseases that are deadly to the vines. One of the most pervasive is the aggressive Pierce’s disease, carried between plants by an insect called the glassy-winged sharpshooter.

To ensure that California’s wine industry can continue to conduct research, inspect, and control Pierce’s disease, Sen. McGuire introduced SB 449, which extends the state’s existing Pierce’s Disease Control Program and the Pierce’s Disease and Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) Board from 2021 to 2026.

“Pierce’s disease is spread by a nasty little bugger and once a vine is infected – the disease will block the water system of the vine, the fruit will shrivel, and ultimately the entire plant will die. There is still no known cure for the disease, which is why it is so important that we do everything we can at the state level to stop the spread of Pierce’s and continue to advance desperately needed research,” Sen. McGuire said. “SB 449 extends the existing Pierce’s Disease Control Program to 2026 which will help keep California’s multibillion dollar wine industry thriving for decades to come.”

SB 449 is endorsed by California Association of Winegrape Growers, Family Winemakers of California, and the Wine Institute.

SB 449 was approved in the Senate with unanimous support, and the bill will now move to the State Assembly for approval.

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