The dynamics of Xylophilus ampelinus were studied in Vitis vinifera cv. Ugni blanc using gfp-marked bacterial strains to evaluate the relative importance of epiphytic and endophytic phases of plant colonization in disease development. Currently, bacterial necrosis of grapevine is of economic importance in vineyards in three regions in France: the Cognac, Armagnac, and Die areas. This disease is responsible for progressive destruction of vine shoots, leading to their death. We constructed gfp-marked strains of the CFBP2098 strain of X. ampelinus for histological studies. We studied the colonization of young plants of V. vinifera cv. Ugni blanc by X. ampelinus after three types of artificial contamination in a growth chamber and in a greenhouse. (i) After wounding of the stem and inoculation, the bacteria progressed down to the crown through the xylem vessels, where they organized into biofilms. (ii) When the bacteria were forced into woody cuttings, they rarely colonized the emerging plantlets. Xylem vessels could play a key role in the multiplication and conservation of the bacteria, rather than being a route for plant colonization. (iii) When bacterial suspensions were sprayed onto the plants, bacteria progressed in two directions: both in emerging organs and down to the crown, thus displaying the importance of epiphytic colonization in disease development.