Real-time RT-PCR (TaqMan) assays were developed for the specific detection of Grapevine Leafroll associated viruses 1-5 and 9 (GLRaV-1-5 and -9). The assays were evaluated against a wide range of geographically distributed isolates. Geographical locations included South Africa, Europe, Australia, Asia, Latin America and the United States. Sequences were piled up from the most conserved regions of these geographically diverse isolates and TaqMan primers and probes were designed, targeting the regions with 100% sequence identity. Improving the RNA extraction technique and testing the quality of the RNA using the 18S ribosomal RNA TaqMan assay as an RNA specific internal control to validate the quality of the extracted RNA proved to generate better diagnostic assays. The real-time TaqMan RT-PCR assays were compared to the conventional RT-PCR assays for the detection of viruses using purified total RNA as well as crude extract. The data showed that when using total RNA extracted either by the Qiagen RNeasy method or by an ABI automated system more isolates were detected in comparison to crude extract. The optimum volume of crude extract prepared in GES for use in real-time TaqMan RT-PCR cocktail was determined to be 1 microl per reaction. In addition this report showed that TaqMan RT-PCR was more sensitive than conventional one-step RT-PCR for testing different isolates of these viruses either using RNA or crude tissue extract.