In the world of wine, the term “the American plagues” was the nickname given to:

A. Three American critics whose wine reviews in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s could affect the financial status of a winery

B. Three types of American oak that were imported into France in response to shortages of French oak after WWII

C. The perceived propensity for American winemakers to make wines that were high in alcohol, overripe, and over-oaked

D. Three vine diseases—powdery mildew, downy mildew, and phylloxera—that were brought to Europe from America


Between 1850 and 1870, the diseases powdery mildew, downy mildew, and phylloxera arrived from America. The “American Plagues,” as they ultimately came to be called, unleashed a cascade of devastation, for there were no known remedies at the time. In the diseases’ aftermath, until partial remedies were found, scores of grape varieties were nearly or permanently abandoned. In several parts of France, the vineyard acreage shrank by more than 50%, and some wine areas disappeared altogether. With the exception of Languedoc-Roussillon, no wine region in France is as big today as it once was.

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