Napa winemakers worry about drought - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Napa winemakers worry about drought

Posted: Updated:
NAPA, Calif. (NBC) - Even though dozens of wineries in Napa's famed wine region are still cleaning up and tallying damage after last weekend's quake, the focus is changing.

Winemakers across the state are picking and crushing grapes ahead of usual harvest time, because the drought has ripened crops early, one symptom of the lack of water.

Stress, within limits, is good for grapes, but it requires careful attention.

"If the drought is too heavy and the vine has to struggle to a degree where its own life is threatened, the drought has gone too far,” Chuck Wagner from Caymus Vineyards said.

So far that hasn't happened in much of the Napa region, despite the unprecedented drought throughout the state.

But, in more arid regions a lack of water has been catastrophic, leaving grapes dying on the vine.

At least 80-percent of grapes on this 160 acres of La Jolla Farming, are shriveled and soft, unable to go to market.

A crucial resource, the amount of water in any given year not only impacts grapes on the vine, but the number of new vines that can be planted.

New plants that determine future crops, need more water than established vines.

"If you don't plant today, you aren't going to have wine grapes in 3, 4, 5 years. That's been a problem,” Michael Honig from Honig Vineyard and Winery said.

Throughout California, wineries say another year of drought could put them over the edge.

"This year is a seven.  If we have a drought next year, I would say it will be a 10 out of 10,” Wagner said.

But this year, despite the drought, winemakers say they expect to toast high yields and good quality.

At the same time, they're learning to live with less water through resource management and new technologies, including the development of more drought resistant grapes.
  • U.S. & World NewsMore>>

  • Police: Trooper hurt in ambush conscious, talking

    Police: Trooper hurt in ambush conscious, talking

    Sunday, September 14 2014 9:40 PM EDT2014-09-15 01:40:42 GMT
    With the deadly ambush on a state police barracks in the Pocono Mountains, law enforcement in eastern Pennsylvania went on high alert and officers from throughout the region, including New York and New Jersey,...[more]
    A Pennsylvania state trooper who was injured when a gunman ambushed him and killed another trooper outside a police barracks is conscious and talking for the first time since he underwent surgery, a spokesman said Sunday.[more]
  • 10 Things to Know for Monday

    10 Things to Know for Monday

    Sunday, September 14 2014 9:10 PM EDT2014-09-15 01:10:46 GMT
    By The Associated Press Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:[more]
    By The Associated Press Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:[more]
  • An emotional Beyonce, Jay Z end tour in Paris

    An emotional Beyonce, Jay Z end tour in Paris

    Sunday, September 14 2014 9:10 PM EDT2014-09-15 01:10:32 GMT
    An emotional Beyonce was in tears as she and husband Jay Z wrapped up their "On the Run" stadium tour in Paris, where the duo said they got engaged years ago.[more]
    An emotional Beyonce was in tears as she and husband Jay Z wrapped up their "On the Run" stadium tour Saturday night in Paris, where the duo said they got engaged years ago.[more]
  • Stay Connected

  • Like Us on Facebook
  • Follow Us on Twitter
Powered by WorldNow

WHDH TV 7NBC WLVI TV CW56
Sunbeam Television Corp
7 Bulfinch Place
Boston, MA 02114

News Tips: (800) 280-TIPS
Tell Hank: (855) 247-HANK

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WHDH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.