An evaluation of the flora adjacent to wine grape vineyards for the presence of alternative host plants of grapevine red blotch-associated virus.
Grapevine red blotch-associated virus (GRBaV) is a recently discovered virus of concern to wine grape production in North America. While the vector of this virus is unknown, other elements of virus epidemiology are essential to develop guidelines for the management of the virus as well as to assist in the search for its vector. The objective of this study was to evaluate vegetation within and surrounding GRBaV-infected vineyards to identify potential virus reservoirs that may serve as sources of inoculum. In this study, 13 plant species were sampled throughout the year and were tested for the presence of GRBaV. Of the 13 species tested, two species, Rubus armeniacus and wild grapes (Vitis californica × V. vinifera), tested positive by quantitative PCR. Of these two species, only wild grapes were determined to be a true host. This study documents the first time GRBaV has been confirmed in an alternative host or in a species outside of a commercial vineyard and suggests that a mechanism exists by which GRBaV moves between plant species that is not human-mediated. The precise role that wild grapes play in the epidemiology of GRBaV remains unknown.