What is phyloxera?
Phylloxera is a vine pest that attacks the root system of vines eating the vine from the root up. It lives benignly in American rootstock without doing much damage. Once, however, it was introduced to those succulent vines in Europe, it feasted on every vine it could find until there were no more vines to destroy. By the end of the nineteenth century, there was hardly a vine standing in all of Europe.
The cure was a tough pill for the Europeans to swallow. That being they would have to plant American rootstock to which European vine stock would be grafted. Native American vines are resistant to phylloxera, but produces wine of lesser quality than European vines. Europe was slow to realize this cure or it would have recovered from phylloxera in less than five years. As it was, it took almost 50 years for the devastation to be controlled. Today, nearly all of the world's vines are a composite of American rootstock and European vine stock.