Flavescence dorée (FD) is one of the most economically important grapevine diseases in Southern Europe, and it is associated with phytoplasmas, phloem-limited wall-less bacteria. Recovery from disease naturally occurs in infected grapevines during the following seasons after infection. The capability of the leafhopper vector Scaphoideus titanus to acquire FD phytoplasma (FDP) from recovered and infected grapevines of Barbera and Nebbiolo varieties was investigated in North-western Italy vineyards monitored from 2007 to 2011. Pathogen concentration was quantified by real-time PCR in FDP-infected grapevines and broad beans, also used as source plants under controlled conditions, to correlate acquisition capabilities and phytoplasma titre in source plants. S. titanus acquired FDP from infected, but not from recovered, grapevines. FDP titre was higher in Barbera than in Nebbiolo and higher in summer than in spring, and acquisition efficiency and pathogen titre in source plants were positively correlated, both in field and laboratory conditions. Recovered plants do not represent a source of inoculum for the vector and therefore do not contribute to FDP spread. The inability of recovered plants to serve as FDP acquisition sources for the vector as well as the effect of the season and of the two grapevine varieties on the FDP acquisition efficiency are relevant results to re-design disease management practices, especially since insecticide treatments against the vector are not fully effective, and newly designed successful control strategies are required.