1918: Rebuilding the vineyards
Oidium (powdery mildew) and downy mildew start to contaminate the vineyards in Valais in the 1880s. Phylloxera, which has ravaged Europe’s vineyards, arrives late in Valais (1916). Preventive measures have already been taken, but progressively rebuilding the vineyards becomes necessary. As elsewhere, plants grafted onto American rootstock that is resistant to phylloxera must be planted. Selecting rootstock plants that are compatible with local grape varieties involves long years of experimenting. The older indigenous grapes are left behind for plants that are more profitable and easier to grow. Fendant, Rhin and Gamay are among the most popular grapes for new plantings. Virtually all of the Valais vineyards are rebuilt by the end of the 1950s.
Versannes (layering-in) above Sierre. Photo C Krebser Médiathèque Valais-Martigny