"Author Steven Laine takes several of wine's villainous boogeymen... and spins an international conspiracy that threatens the viability of wine itself...If Michael Pollan and Dan Brown sat down over a bottle of Barolo and brainstormed a novel based on all the neuroses of the natural wine movement, they might have come up with something like Root Cause." - The Washington Post
Corvina Guerra is a flying winemaker who dreams of one day settling down in her native Italy on her family's vineyard. On a visit to a vineyard in Italy, Corvina makes a startling discovery: Phylloxera, a menacing plant louse that devastated vineyards in Europe more than a hundred years ago, has infested the vines.
After reporting her findings to her company, Universal Wines, Corvina is charged with investigating the spread of the bug. Nicknamed Philomena by the media, the aphid is soon discovered in vineyards around the world. To aid in her investigation, Corvina recruits a wine expert in London, Brian Lawless. In pursuit of its origins, Corvina and Brian embark on a thrilling globetrot on which they uncover that Philomena is a genetically modified strain of Phylloxera and is being intentionally spread.
The deeper Corvina and Brian search, the more they become convinced that Universal Wines holds the answer to everything, and the harder they pursue their investigation the more surprises pile up for both of them.
In spite of devastating consequences, Corvina and Brian vow to continue their investigation and do what they can to contain the spread of the infestation - but time is running short and they always seem to be a step behind. Unless they can find a way to stop the Philomena - vineyards around the world will be ruined for decades; potentially causing the collapse of the wine industry. Can Corvina and Brian get to the root cause and save the international wine industry from ruin?