Virus Diseases of Grapevine


There are 25 recognised virus and virus‐like diseases of grapevines (Vitis and Muscadinia spp.). Many have a clear‐cut detrimental effect on the vines, that is stunting, reduced vigour, malformation of the leaves and twigs, foliar discolourations ranging from reddening to chlorotic or bright yellow mottling, ringspots and line patterns. The productive life of the vineyards can be shortened and the quantity and quality of the crop badly affected. Prevailing disease agents are viruses transmitted by nematodes (nepoviruses and Strawberry latent ringspot virus), pseudococcid mealybugs and soft‐scale insects (closteroviruses and vitiviruses). Infected propagation materials (scions and rootstocks) are the major way for long‐distance dissemination of diseases, several of which have now a worldwide distribution and have entered areas where the grapevine industry is expanding. Control is based on preventive measures such as sanitary selection, sanitation and induction of resistance through conventional breeding or, to come in the future, genetic engineering.

Key Concepts

  • Virus and virus‐like diseases are a major threat to the world's grapevine industry.
  • The world of grapevine‐infecting viruses is the most variegated among woody crops.
  • Prevailing viruses are soil‐borne and mealybug‐transmitted.
  • Spreading of diseases and their agents is mediated by infected propagative material and vectors.
  • Nursery productions have played, and still do, a major role in disease dissemination.
  • Disease control relies on preventive measures aimed at reducing vector populations and sources of inoculum.
  • Sanitary selection and sanitation are most efficient means for producing certified stocks.

Keywords: Vitis ; Muscadinia ; virus diseases; nepoviruses; closteroviruses; sanitary selection; sanitation

Figure 1. Bright yellow discolouration of the foliage induced by a chromogenic strain of GFLV.
Figure 2. Typical autumn symptoms in a leaf of a leafroll‐infected vine.
Figure 3. Stem grooving induced by rugose wood.


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Further Reading

Boudon‐Padieu E , Ridé M and Walter B (2000) Maladies à Virus, Bactéries et Phytoplasmes de la Vigne . Bordeaux: Editions Féret.

Bovey R , Gärtel W , Hewitt WB , Martelli GP and Vuittenez A (1980) Virus and Virus‐like Diseases of Grapevines. Lausanne: Editions Payot.

Frison EA and Ikin R (1991) FAO/IBPGR Technical Guidelines for the Safe Movement of Grapevine Germplasm. Rome: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome/International Board for Plant Genetic Resources.

Goheen AC (1977) Virus and viruslike diseases of grapes. HortScience 12: 465–469.

Hadidi A , Flores R , Randles JW and Semancik JS (2003) Viroids. Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.

Krake LR , Scott S , Rezaian MA and Taylor RH (1999) Graft‐transmitted Disease of Grapevines. Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.

Martelli GP , Savino V and Digiaro M (1996) Virus Floematici e Malattie della Vite. Bari: Tecnomack.

Martelli GP , Adams MJ , Kreuze JF and Dolja VV (2007) Family Flexiviridae: a case study of viron and genome plasticity. Annual Review of Phytopathology 45: 73–100.

Pearson RG and Goheen AC (1988) Compendium of Grape Diseases. St. Paul, MN: The American Phytopathological Society Press.

Uyemoto JK , Martelli GP , Woodham RC , Goheen AC and Dias HF (1978) Grapevine (Vitis) Virus and Virus‐like Diseases. In: Barnett OW and Tolin SA (eds) Plant Virus Slide Series, Set 1. Clemson, SC: Clemson University.

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Martelli, Giovanni P(Mar 2019) Virus Diseases of Grapevine. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000766.pub4]