Vineyard Report: June 2021
Authored by: Jay DeWitt, Vigneron/Managing Winemaker
It’s great to connect with friends in person again. Conversation topics formerly considered mundane are now quite interesting when talking with a maskless human. So, let’s talk about the weather!
It’s dry. Year to date, 2021 is one of the driest years on record. The beautiful hills covered by dryland grain crops are already drying up, a month before they should. It is going to be a difficult year for our wheat farming neighbors and friends.
The drought will not have a negative impact on our business. Reduced soil moisture means less vegetative growth so clusters get more direct sunlight. Also, moderate drought stress triggers the physiological changes that lead to superior quality.
Grapes don’t require much water. In a typical year we apply 2 to 4 acre inches of water. An alfalfa field needs 10 times that amount. The soil moisture is monitored in real time, accessible with a cell phone, so there is no wasteful irrigation. The vineyards are irrigated with efficient drip systems that apply 0.5 inches in 12 hours, 3 full days of irrigation is all that is needed for an average season. This year will require twice that amount.