The impact of a damaging pest has reportedly been reduced in Chile’s table grape and wine industries after the Lobesia moth was discovered on vineyards in Regions III, VIII and IX.

Unlike other pests, Lobesia Botrana, a bunch-vine moth, feeds on both grape berries and the vine and has caused up to 70 per cent production losses in Europe.

“The measures we have taken have been adequate,” said René Merino, president of Chile Wines. “The government has provided the resources for sexual confusion and private companies have provided for the fumigations. In Regions III, VIII and IX adult moths have been found. That doesn’t mean there is an outbreak of the plague, but that they arrived in trucks from the most infected areas. That is why we must take special care in moving trucks, grapes and materials.

“The moth is most attracted to wine grapes, where the insect is born and develops. Later it can affect other kinds of fruits, especially table grapes for export. That issue is more complicated because a little damage to a couple of wine grapes is irrelevant, but with damage to table grapes, you can lose the whole bunch.”

Sources say the impact on the table grape export deal is unclear, although some are concerned for Chile’s developing markets.

“There are still markets that do not have a set protocol with respect to Lobesia,” said Rodrigo Echeverría, president of the Chilean fruit growers’ association (Fedefruta). “The US is the most important market and officials there are on board with our controls, but we are worried about China, Korea and India – our developing markets.”