Once a month the students at Lakish are taken on a tour and lecture outside the campus, each time on a different subject.
This month the students were taken to Anvey Tal and received a lecture by agronomist Ziggi Frum. They were accompanied by Yossi Hadad, also an agronomist who works for Agrostudies and is responsible for the Northern region.
During this lecture the students visited the packaging house and heard a lecture on marketing, packaging and the classification of the grapes at Anvey Tal company.
After the central lecture they stayed on for Q&A with Yossi who also expanded their general knowledge on related subjects.
He described the story of an aphid pest called Phylloxera that attacks the roots of the vines and methods to defeat it.
This pest is the known cause of the Phylloxera plague that almost defeated the grapevine industry in Europe in the late 19th, early 20th century. Most of the students were not familiar with this story and the important lesson learned by agriculturalists who found a solution that saved the European wine industry.
Similar to citrus, vines are formed of a stock (the bottom part with the roots) and a graft where the fruit grows. European stock was infamously sensitive to the Phylloxera as it took a very long while to respond to the pest’s attacks and defend itself. By the time it responded naturally it was too late and the plants died by the thousands. Unlike the European variant, the North American variant was much more resistant to this particular pest. Eventually grape growers learned to take the American stock and combine it with the European graft, a lesson that saved the European wine industry from being wiped out and disappearing from history.
Taking a broader view, we could say that this is a great early example of intercontinental collaboration, through which resources and knowledge are exchanged, allowing the agronomists of the day to expand their abilities and knowledge, and ultimately save the European industry. It is not fundamentally different from our goal, at Agrostudies, bringing young agronomists to Israel to study modern techniques and technologies, a process through which both sides are exposed to diverse knowledge and experience from many countries around the world and return to their homes with newfound skills.