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Viala Pierre

The French scientist Professor Dr. Pierre Viala (1859-1936) was the scion of a winemaking family and studied at the College of Agriculture in Montpellier (Languedoc-Roussillon) under the then director Gustave Louis Emile Foëx (1844-1906). In 1883, together with Louis Ravaz, he identified the vine disease black rot (black red) and focused on fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. He finally became professor of viticulture in Montpellier and, together with Foëx, wrote the work "Ampélographie américaine".

The French Ministry of Agriculture appointed him head of a delegation sent to America in 1887 to find suitable rootstock vines for grafting in the fight against phylloxera. He also met the American botanist Thomas Volney Munson (1843-1913), from whom he received valuable information. Together with Georg Engelmann, Alexis Millardet, Jules Émile Planchon and Charles Valentine Riley, he is considered the saviour of European viticulture from phylloxera.

Thanks to his efforts, the lime-compatible rootstock "41 B", produced on the basis of the American species Vitis berlandieri(Vitis cinerea var. helleri), was created, which made it possible to replant the Champagne and Cognac areas. In 1890, Viala became professor of viticulture at the "National Agronomique" Institute in Paris and in 1891 he wrote his doctoral dissertation. Together with Ravaz, he founded the journal "Revue de Viticulture", which appeared regularly from 1894 to 1949.

Between 1901 and 1910, in collaboration with the viticultural expert Vermorel (1848-1927), after ten years of study and meticulous research with a team of seventy people, the work "Ampélographie - Traité général de viticulture" was published in seven volumes. It was the standard ampelographic work at the time and contained 24,000 grape varieties with their synonyms, 570 mostly colour lithographic plates and numerous illustrations (four of which are shown below). Viala was finally appointed Inspector General of Viticulture in 1897, became a member of the "Académie française" in 1919 and published many pioneering works on ampelography and vine diseases.


Grand Noir de la Calmette: Par Viala et Vermorel - Agefotostock, Domaine public, Link
Tressalier(Sacy): Par Viala et Vermorel - Ampélography, Domaine public, Link
Alphonse Lavallée: Par Viala et Vermorel - Ampélography, Domaine public, Link
Dattier de Beyrouth(Afus Ali): Par Viala et Vermorel - Ampélography, Domaine public, Link

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