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6,000 grapevine moths in Napa, only 1 in Sonoma, growers told

Local grape growers took comfort Friday that only one European grapevine moth has been found in Sonoma County, but were alarmed to learn that 6,000 such pests have been trapped just over the hill in Napa Valley.

"I found that appalling," said Tim Reuling, a Forestville grape grower who gathered with 260 other farmers and grape industry leaders in Santa Rosa.

The growers learned Friday that the grapevine moth likely has been in Napa for a few seasons, and that the state quarantine area adopted in March will soon nearly double in size to cover 300 square miles.

European Grapevine Moth

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"This one's scarier than the other ones," Calistoga grower Ken Piters said of the various pests Wine Country farmers have faced in recent years. His vineyard could come under quarantine once state officials fix the new boundaries.

The grapevine moth, native to Mediterranean Europe, was first confirmed in the U.S. last September in the Napa Valley.

The pest destroyed the crop of one Napa vineyard and damaged other vineyards, a state official said Friday. The moth attacks the berries and can infect them with botrytis, or bunch rot.

The state established the first Napa quarantine in an effort to contain the moth. The quarantine rules are not yet final, but they likely will allow the transport of grapes if growers demonstrate they will take steps to prevent the spread of the insect.

Two weeks ago a single moth was found in an agricultural area near Kenwood. State inspectors have increased traps in that area and made daily inspections. But to date no new pests have been found.

"This is good news, and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed," county Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Neville told growers.

Under state and federal rules, a single moth doesn't trigger a quarantine.


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