During the mid to late 1800s, Phylloxera infestation became an epidemic throughout France and most of Europe, destroying over two-thirds of the continent's vines. Panic set in and solutions were sought far and wide. After significant investigation, it was determined that the Phylloxera louse came from the U.S., though the native American vines were resistant to the bug's attack. It was this resistance that would eventually be harnessed to provide a viable solution to Europe's Phylloxera woes. Researchers discovered that by grafting a European vine onto American rootstock, they could keep the Phylloxera louse from feeding on the vine's root structure, while maintaining the original vine's fruit character and quality. This discovery led producers to undertake the enormous task of ripping out entire vineyards and replacing them with grafted vines. Though the Phylloxera epidemic was devastating on many fronts, the silver lining of a marked increase in fruit quality came about as vintners were forced to choose their top vines to graft onto the surrogate root systems.