While many consider international meetings of wine groups to be ‘junkets’, an article in the Napa Valley Register has painted these gatherings in a new light.

The junket that saved Napa Valley’s wine industry’, an article by Henry Lutz, explores the money spent on membership of the Great Wine Capitals group, and the benefits of membership, in particular, boosts to knowledge during the European grapevine moth outbreak.

When Napa Valley hosted a meeting of Great Wine Capitals in the early 2000s, former Napa County Ag Commissioner Dave Whitmer got the call to take part. The delegation also included Gennaro Giliberti, director of agriculture for the province of Florence in Italy.

When the first North American sighting of the European grapevine moth was reported in the harvest of 2009, Whitmer thought of Giliberti. An international team was assembled, including Andrea Lucchi, an entomologist at the University of Pisa.

“His expertise about what this insect was and how to deal with it just became absolutely invaluable to our success with the insect eradication project,” Whitmer said of Lucchi.

Whitmer estimated the Napa county paid around $2,500 in membership dues to be part of the Great Wine Capitals contingent, and had a travel budget of about $15,000 a year.

“So, let’s say $17,500 [was spent] and we saved an industry that’s worth $13 billion a year,” Wittner said in the article. “The economics are pretty easy.”

Read the full story here: https://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/the-junket-that-saved-napa-valley-s-wine-industry/article_74a7516a-9418-5edf-b6af-f4a10f435469.html

For more information about European Grapevine Moth eradication efforts in the US, click here: https://vinehealth.com.au/2017/10/10/european-grapevine-moth/