The production of juice and wine grapes in Washington State plays a major role in its agricultural and related economies. From the farm gate value of fruit to revenue generated by tourism, it is a vital industry in the state. Because of this, Washington has plant quarantines designed to protect commercial grape production in the state from the detrimental introduction of pests and diseases. These rules, however, do not just impact commercial grape growers in the state. If a wholesale or retail plant outlet fails to comply with the quarantines, their reputation, nursery license, and, ultimately, profitability are at stake.
This publication provides information necessary for buyers and resellers of wholesale plant material to successfully navigate and adhere to Washington’s grape quarantines in order to avoid monetary loss due to importation of material that does not meet quarantine restrictions or the inadvertent introduction of a pest or disease that could gravely damage the commercial grape industry within the state.
What is the Washington State Grapevine Quarantine?
Washington State’s grapevine quarantine is defined under WAC 16-483, which prohibits several viruses, bacteria, and insect pests on grape plant materials imported from outside the state. Only virus-tested vines are allowed entry, certified under an official state certification program. Currently, only Oregon and California have certification programs that meet this requirement.
The Washington State grapevine quarantine is designed to keep known pests and diseases from entering the state. The listed quarantine pests are known to reduce plant vigor, yield, and/or fruit quality. These declines in vigor or quality can either be acute (within a year) or chronic (slowly result in vine decline). Ultimately, these pests and diseases reduce the productive lifespan of commercial vineyards. In many cases, there are no known 100% effective eradication or treatment options. This makes exclusion (keeping the pest or disease away) the only known effective management tool.
Key Agencies and Acronyms
- Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA)
- California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA)
- Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA)
Ultimately, this means you have up to five potential sources for wholesale grapevines that would be legally allowed to be sold in the state. These options include (1) WSDA-certified grapevines, originating from a Washington-based nursery; (2) non-certified grapevines originating from a Washington-based nursery; (3) ODA-certified grapevines originating from an Oregon nursery; (4) CDFA-certified grapevines originating from a California nursery, and (5) grapevines purchased directly from a grapevine foundation source (specific sources listed under The Importance of Grapevine Certification Programs); please note most foundation sources preferentially sell to nurseries due to their limited ability to produce large quantities of vines. Grapevines originating from outside of Washington, from Oregon or California but not ODA- or CDFA-certified (respectively), or from Missouri but not directly from the Clean Grapevine Program, cannot be brought into the state. If non-allowed plants are found at any wholesale or retail outlets, the business will be subject to the consequences listed under Consequences of Non-Compliance.
In all cases, the burden of knowing what can and cannot be shipped and sold in the state of Washington falls on the retailer. When you are purchasing certified plant materials from Oregon or California, you must notify the Washington State Department of Agriculture prior to the arrival of that plant material and schedule an inspection. You must also maintain a copy of that inspection paperwork, along with a copy of the certification paperwork (either from Oregon or California), at the location where the plants are sold (Figure 1), to present to a WSDA inspector during any future site visits.