ST. HELENA, Calif. — Last September, a wildfire tore through one of Dario Sattui’s Napa Valley wineries, destroying millions of dollars in property and equipment, along with 9,000 cases of wine.
November brought a second disaster: Mr. Sattui realized the precious crop of cabernet grapes that survived the fire had been ruined by the smoke. There would be no 2020 vintage.
A freakishly dry winter led to a third calamity:
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
Harvard University’s endowment is reportedly buying up vineyards in California’s wine country, along with the water rights belonging to those properties.
Instead of making the land purchases in its own name, Harvard is using a wholly owned subsidiary—named Brodiaea after the scientific name for the cluster lily —to buy vineyards. Harvard created Brodiaea in 2012, and by 2015 the unit had already purchased 10,000 acres in Santa Barbara and San
Costa Vineyards in Lodi is successfully using groundwater recharge in this 14-acre Zinfandel block. Photo: Ted Rieger
Groundwater is a major source of irrigation water for California agriculture and is increasingly being managed and regulated to address the overdrafting of aquifers in many of the state’s groundwater basins. The ability to capture and store water for future use through groundwater recharge on existing farmlands has been demonstrated in recent years,
Photo: Michael Chow/The Republic
Video in source article: Jim Graham operates a pistachio and wine-grape farm in Cochise County. He and other farmers have seen their groundwater levels drop.
In 2016, when the rains dried and reservoirs shrank, California was forced to impose drastic water conservation measures to keep taps flowing. Arizona avoided this fate, despite being a far drier place, largely because we had something California didn’t: the Groundwater