5 Facts Wine Drinkers Need to Know about the Drought (VIDEO)


California Drought: Grape Expectations

California DroughtA little over two months ago Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for the state of California. California’s rain totals are still nowhere near normal and it’s going to take several serious drenching’s to put a dent in the drought.

Click Here to see Wine Oh TV’s Monique Soltani covering the Napa Valley Drought for AMHQ with Sam Champion on The Weather Channel.

The dry spell has certainly been on the minds of members of California’s winemaking industry. Folks on the east coast might have a hard time sympathizing with our mild conditions and lack of “real” weather. But, when the west coast is dried up it can have an impact on wine drinkers across the country. In 2012, 89 percent of the wine in the United States was produced in California. Grapes are one of the highest valued crops in the country. With these facts in mind, this question might come to mind: Will the drought leave thirsty wine drinkers across the country dehydrated? I headed to Napa Valley to help find some answers.

California DroughtJennifer Putnam, executive director of Napa Valley Grapegrowers, tells me they still are not even within striking distance of a normal year. This has Putnam and her 670 members with climate change on the forefront of their thoughts.

The wet start and end to March has been a welcome relief for winemakers and grape growers across the Golden State who have been praying for rain all season. Putnam’s not going to sugar coat it, she says the last time we saw conditions this bad was in 1976-1977. To put those dates into perspective, that’s when President Ford and Jimmy Carter were in office.

Is there reason to sweat the 2014 vintage? Watch the video and find out whether California’s parched weather conditions will put a pinch on your pocketbook.

Tim Mondavi, Continuum Estate

“Norm is a very good thing in babies and in seasons normal is a very good thing. The vines are far more drought resistant than row crops and than all of the foods on our table. So, I think we can celebrate wine that’s for sure, but it’s a serious issue climate change is a serious issue.”

Want to keep track of California’s rain fall totals? Check out this California Drought Monitor.

  • 2013 was the driest year on record.
  • The wine industry dubs July 1 – January 31 ‘water months’ and Napa Valley Grapegrowers held out hope for drought-ending rain, February – April.
  • Three crucial times when Napa Valley Grapegrowers say they need water: Budbreak (happening now), Bloom (April & May) and Veraison (August).
  • Napa grapegrowers say access to water in underground aquifers will help them irrigate crops even if rains are light through this year.
  • About 3 million of the roughly 9 million acres of irrigated agriculture in California are vineyards and orchards.

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