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Seven Reasons Everyone Should Pray For Rain!

We need water. We REALLY NEED it very bad! During the whole of last year we only saw around 6 inches of rain when average is around 40 inches or so. San Francisco got just over 5 inches which is getting into desert-type conditions. So far this year, the picture has not improved much. We had a sprinkle of rain (0.01 inch) a few weeks ago but that was it.
The culprit is a high pressure system that has been parked off of the Pacific coast for several months redirecting the rain we usually see down to Mexico. Time magazine recently announced they believe we are moving into an El Niño year meaning a super warm year for the west coast. While they are the only people proclaiming this so far, that on top of a drought year could mean an extremely challenging vintage for grape growers.
1) Low rain and warmer than average winter means early bud break.
2) Early bud break plus extremely dry conditions means a nasty frost season.
3) A bad frost season and low water supplies means that those growers that rely on overhead sprinklers for frost protection have to chose to protect the crop now and risk not having enough water to irrigate later when the summer comes.
4) Low water resources and a warm year means increased irrigation needs further stressing already stressed water supplies.
5) Further stress on already stressed water supplies means agriculture and urban water needs are put at odds once again. That battle is usually won by the urbanites.
6) Reduction of water for agriculture means less crops over all. Lower yields for wine grapes and food crops alike.
7) Lower yields for crops equals higher food prices to the end consumer.
When I say “we need water” I don’t just mean those of us who make our living in Agriculture. I mean ALL of us, collectively.
In all seriousness, start praying for rain. We REALLY need it!

3 Responses

  1. I love wine and I’m excited how quickly our collective American appetite has grown, along with the gusto with which we’re planting, producing, and enjoying it more.
    But how much more of a demand does it put on the water supply, during any given year(not just during those with critically low snow and rainfall? The urban demand for water continues to increase, resulting in less for agriculture, viticulture, horticulture. Vineyards seem to be going in everywhere, and I’m a 63-year old native Californian who can tell you it’s an incredible change. I think it’s reasonable to expect a limit to growth, including vineyards, so we don’t fall into the trap of expecting wine production to take precedence over drinking water, bathing, etc. And responsible use of water should be taught to everyone, at all levels.

    1. Hi TD,
      Relative to other crops, grapes are fairly low water users. I don’t know exactly how much water on average an acre of grapes uses in California but I will find out and get back to you.

      Thanks for your comment!

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About Nova Cadamatre

Nova Cadamatre has become one of the most versatile and experienced winemakers in the industry. She holds a Bachelors from Cornell University in Viticulture.  In 2017 she achieved the title of Master of Wine and was the first female winemaker in the US to do so. 

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