Why fine wine companies want to attract flies

spotted wing drosophilaView larger image

It might sound unlikely for fine wine companies to want to know which of their grapes is most appealing to flies, but there's good reason for it.

By identifying which wines are most alluring to flies - in particular spotted wing drosophila, or SWD - winemakers and chemical companies can work together to create even more fly-friendly scents.

These can, in turn, be used to lure the flies away from the vines, preventing them from posing a risk to fine wine companies' best grapes.

So what wines please the palate of SWD? The US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service has the answers - and they're very specific.

In fact, they discovered four different chemicals contained in wine and vinegar, blended together, are the most appealing of all.

For example, Chardonnay combined with apple cider vinegar is less effective than Merlot blended with rice vinegar.

They're not the kinds of pre-mixes you'll see in your independent wine merchant's shop anytime soon, but these kinds of discoveries are helping to protect vines worldwide and, in turn, to protect the quality and quantity of fine wines the world's best vineyards are able to produce.