S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Mouillefert, Prof Pierre (viticulture)

Born: 1846, Place not known.
Died: 1903, Place not known.

Pierre Mouillefert, French botanist and professor of viticulture at the National School of Agriculture, Crignon, France, published widely on viticulture and related topics from the eighteen-seventies onwards. Some of his books, monographs or reports dealt with the treatment of vines (1876), phylloxera (root-rot caused by the vine-aphid; 1877, 1882), protection of vines against this disease (1887), viticulture (1891), and agriculture around the eastern Mediterranean (1893). In addition he published about a dozen papers between 1874 and 1883 that all dealt with combating phylloxera with potassium thiocarbonate. Another of his interests was forestry, leading to a monograph on the arboretum of his agricultural college (1889), and a treatise on silviculture (1903).

Early in 1889 Mouillefert visited the Cape to inspect its vineyards and advise on the threat posed by phylloxera. He conducted a tour of inspection in the company of Albrecht C.F. Fisher*, secretary for agriculture of the Cape Colony, and Dr L.A. Peringuey*, French speaking entomologist at the South African Museum. His "Report upon the vineyards of the Cape Colony" was published in the Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope (Vol. 1(20), pp. 166-169) in March 1889. He noted that phylloxera had probably been present at the Cape since about 1880, but had been properly identified only in 1886. He did not support the view that the vines at the Cape should be replaced with American vines, on the grounds that few American vines were suitable for wine production and these yielded wines of low quality. His proposal was rather that local vines should be grafted onto American stocks, which are more resistant to phylloxera. This solution was implemented at the Cape on a large scale and has become a permanent feature of our wine industry.

A few years after his visit Mouillefert wrote a comprehensive article (in French) on the Cape of Good Hope and its productions in the Revue de Geographie (1892). This valuable article was also published separately as a pamphlet. An English summary appeared in the Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope (Vol. 5(16), pp. 255-257) the same year.

List of sources:
Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope, 1889, Vol. 1 and 1892, Vol. 5.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

Compiled by: C. Plug