Oct 7, 2019Califonia ag department employee remembers fighting Pierce’s Disease
Bob Wynn, who worked for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for more than 40 years, recently revisited the onset of Pierce’s Disease in a video series put out by the department.
The video series, Centennial Reflections, this year is recording some of the favorite memories of key CDFA staff over the years, in conjunction with the department’s Centennial anniversary.
Wynn, who at one time worked for the department as advisor to the secretary, said the highlight of his career was working with winegrapes growers from 1999-2000 to develop a program to combat the spread of Pierce’s Disease, which threatened California grapes.
“They were in jeopardy of being lost,” he said. “We developed a program that we feel, and the winegrape industry feels, actually saved the winegrape industry in California.”
Pierce’s Disease is a bacterium (Xyella fastidiosa) is spread by insects from the sharpshooter and spittlebug families on grapes, according to the University of California, and can be identified in the vineyard by four different symptoms.
According to the video, Wynn himself is spending his retirement growing winegrapes and making wine.
Above, the glassy-winged sharpshooter—notorious carrier of the microbe that causes Pierce’s Disease of grapes. Photo: Peggy Greb/USDA Agricultural Research Service