Robespierre, Napoléon, Charles de Gaulle, Bridget Bardot, none of them had a more profound influence on the French wine industry than Phylloxera. This tiny root louse that although it devastated the vineyards of Bordeaux in the 1850’s, was the impetus for new root stock from the America’s, aided by new techniques that led to a modern and robust wine industry.
Of the six noble grapes of Bordeaux, only the finicky and late maturing Carmenère was not resurrected (although it had been the favorite varietal for blending in the 1700’s), and became known as The Lost Grape of Bordeaux™. Until…it was discovered in Chile masquerading as Merlot in 1994.
Today The Lost Grape of Bordeaux™ is no longer lost and grows healthy and full of fruit in only one place in the world… Chile, the root stock having been brought over from Europe in the early 1800’s.
Few today would argue that the many viticultural advances since the 1850’s have been influenced not by any one person, but instead by a tiny little unknown and long since forgotten wine loving root louse… Phylloxera.