Information on Phylloxera for visitors, home gardeners and winemakers
Phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae) is a significant threat to grapevines in Australia. Phylloxera is an insect pest. It is a small, yellow, aphid-like insect that feeds on the roots, and sometimes the leaves, of grapevines. There is no treatment or control for phylloxera. Over time it can reduce productivity of a vineyard to such a level that it must be replanted.
Phylloxera is difficult to see to the naked eye, and most easily visible using a 10x magnification lens. Phylloxera lives on the roots of grapevines, but as the weather warms up and leaves grow back, can come up into the canopy.
For more information about symptoms of phylloxera, visit Grapevine phylloxera,
Phylloxera is present in six regions in Victoria, known as Phylloxera Infested Zones (PIZ). No materials that phylloxera can host on (such as grapes, plants, used equipment) may leave those zones without a permit from Agriculture Victoria.
There are two regions in Victoria which have been surveyed to declare them as Phylloxera Exclusion Zones (PEZ) – where phylloxera has not been detected. Any host materials entering these zones requires a permit.
Go to the Phylloxera management zone page to identify and find out what zone a property is in.
Applying for a permit
A person must apply for and be issued a permit to move a regulated phylloxera host material within Victoria from a Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) and/or into a Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ).
The Plant Biosecurity Permit page explains how to apply for a permit and the required application form.
How to prevent the spread of phylloxera – as a visitor at a vineyard
The presence of phylloxera at a vineyard is not usually advertised to visitors. Any vineyard you visit could potentially have the insect pest. Also, just because a vineyard is in a Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ), does not mean that it has phylloxera. Property managers work very hard to reduce the spread of the insect pest within a PIZ.
As a visitor there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of spreading phylloxera between properties, or even within a property. Before you decide to enter a growing area, keep in mind that phylloxera can survive for 29 days without a food source.
- Only drive your vehicle on property tracks and park in designated parking zones. Do not drive your vehicle off a track near any vines.
- Observe all signs and sectioned-off areas.
- Do not enter the vine-growing area without approval from the property manager.
- Seek alternative photography locations that do not require you to be near the vines. Utilise staged vines specifically for this purpose, if provided.
- If you are touring the state and enter any grape growing areas, change footwear and clothing if visiting multiple phylloxera zones. Footwear must be disinfested.
- If you are visiting a vineyard and must enter the growing area for educational or business purposes, ensure you wear clean clothing and footwear. Follow all the biosecurity practices requested by the business. This is likely to include signing in/out and disinfecting footwear in a mix of 50/50 household bleach and water for at least 60 seconds on arrival and departure. If you must take your vehicle amongst vines off a made track, ensure you clean your vehicle afterward to remove any soil or plant material. Clean your vehicle before going to another property, or before leaving a PIZ. The use of hot soapy water is preferred (such as at a commercial car wash).
- If you are visiting a vineyard as a “u-pick” customer, ensure you first know your legal responsibilities based on the phylloxera zone of the property, and of where you intend to take the grapes for processing. Ensure you follow all signage and requests of the property manager. Bring cleaned and disinfested (steam, heat room, 50/50 bleach and water, 100% Dettol) picking containers and tools. Ensure you wear clean clothing and footwear. Use a footbath (if provided) to clean your footwear and tools on arrival and departure. If this is not available, clean them prior to accessing vines at any other property.
How to prevent the spread of phylloxera – home gardeners and home winemakers
Grape phylloxera can spread on used equipment, on planting material and in harvested grapes. Based on your phylloxera zone location, below are some tips for reducing the risk of spread of phylloxera.
If you are in a Phylloxera Risk Zone (PRZ):
- Source grapes from the PRZ or Phylloxera Exclusion Zone PEZ. Do not source them from a PIZ if you intend to remove them from the Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) before they are made into wine.
- Source vines or cuttings from the PRZ or a PEZ.
- If you have people visiting who have grapevines in a PIZ, ensure they are wearing clean clothing and footwear if they are to visit your vines.
- If purchasing second hand equipment, request for it to be cleaned and disinfested by heat treatment (such as steam, hot water dip or heat room). If the equipment is leaving a PIZ, ensure the movement is covered by a permit and a Plant Health Declaration.
- If using a contractor who services other vineyards, request that their used equipment and tools be cleaned and disinfested before attending your property.
If you are in a Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ):
- Do not source wine grapes from outside a PEZ, unless the grapes originate from another PEZ, or come from a property in a Phylloxera Risk Zone (PRZ) that has the correct certification for movement.
- Source cuttings or vines from within a PEZ.
- If you have people visiting who have grapevines outside the PEZ, ensure they are wearing clean clothing and footwear if they are to visit your vines.
- If purchasing second hand equipment, request for it to be cleaned and disinfested by heat treatment (such as steam, hot water dip or heat room). If the equipment is from outside the PEZ, ensure it has a permit and a Plant Health Declaration for entering a PEZ.
- If using a contractor who services other vineyards, request that their used equipment and tools be cleaned and disinfested before attending your property. Ideally, utilise a contractor who operates only on vineyards within the PEZ.