Linda Johnson-Bell makes the case for ‘Dry-Farming’
As water becomes more scarce, the wine industry will come under more and more pressure to stop irrigating and move towards completely sustainable water management and usage. Linda Johnson-Bell is a wine author and critic who sees the writing on the wall for producers who tap water supplies to irrigate what is essentially a luxury product.
A good example of this is the court case in California where a vineyard company owned by the Harvard Endowment Fund is being sued by agricultural neighbours for buying up rights to use ground water ponds to irrigate their vines. One of the plaintiffs in the case is actually a wine producer using Dry Farming techniques.
In a region where the multiyear drought is already severe, mismanaging the finite water supplies could have disastrous impacts for communities trying to adapt to the hotter climate.
Johnson-Bell is looking at how vineyards can increase sustainability by a process known as dry-farming; a practice not suitable in all locations. Here she explains why she is sure that the tough conversations around water usage are only just beginning.
Nick Breeze: can you talk about the current state of water usage in the wine industry and what is right or wrong with it? […]