A federation of California Grape Growers is asking the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to help nip a problem in the bud: the European Grapevine Moth.
“The larva gets into the fruit and starts eating,” said Diego Olagaray, a wine grape grower in Lodi.
No moths have shown-up in his vineyard yet, but a vineyard nearby had them, so his grapes were put into quarantine. They were just cleared in 2012.
Olagaray wants to be certain the invasive species from Europe doesn’t get established in California.
“It would cost the industry billions,” he said.
So growers are asking the Federal Government to kick-in $6.5 million to go with the $1.5 from the State of California to battle the bugs.
Olagaray says wine grape growers don’t get federal subsidies like other agricultural industries do.
His petite sirah vines are just about a month away from blossoming, which is when the moths start to munch. So he’s hoping they’ll hear back from the Secretary of Agriculture soon.