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On Crete, around 120 hectares of old vines from the time before the phylloxera plague (pre-phylloxera) were severely damaged by a wildfire in July. The affected winegrowers in the village of Melambes are now trying to rebuild the plants. They are receiving support from the recently founded association "Francs de Pied", which is seeking recognition of rootless vines as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to winemaker Iliana Mailhin, there is hope that some of the vines could be saved. She told the British magazine Decanter: "Because most of the vineyards in Melambes predate the phylloxera plague and have not been grafted, their roots are very deep in the ground. We don't usually irrigate, but now they receive water every few days - and we have already seen some new green leaves opening up from the lower parts of the stems.".

Loïc Pasquet, owner of the famous Liber Pater winery in Bordeaux and president of "Francs de Pied", has announced support. This group is currently compiling a list of vineyards to submit an application to UNESCO for recognition as a World Heritage Site. This would help to increase the funds available for the protection of the vines.

Direct financial help is to be provided by the crowdfunding project "Save the vines". It was launched shortly after the fire and aims to raise 50,000 euros. Iliana Malihin is happy about the support from vintners, friends and importers and wants to improve fire protection in the area in addition to restoring the vineyards.

(al / Source: decanter; Photo: Iliana Malihin)

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