Watering Wine with Rain
THE MEGA DROUGHT IS COMING! THE MEGA DROUGHT IS COMING! THE SKY IS FALLING! THE WORLD IS ENDING!
Yes, CAPS lock is necessary to adequately convey the messages being spewed internationally by the California media about the state of water across the Golden State and much of the American southwest. But CALM DOWN PEOPLE. The world isn’t ending because the drought is continuing. Yes, Lettuce and kale may be slightly more expensive, but we will still have lettuce, and thank the Lord we’ll still have wine.
The answer to this drought, in my opinion, comes not from fancy science, nor from shipping snow piles from Boston west to the Sierra Nevada, but in the simple act of Dry farming. Yes, that is the still common practice of watering grapevines solely via rainwater. No, not rainwater pumped from tanks or rivers 3,000 miles away, but from the rainwater falling from the sky.
Grapevines, like trees, can have extremely complex root systems which often reach over 40 feet into the ground in search of water. Historically–by which I mean since the year 5,000BCE–vines have survived in this fashion in both harsh desert climates and more moderate zones.
If you’re curious, there’s way better-research scientific jargon a huge body of literature that supports this practice, and the process by which vines can be taken off of irrigation systems and returned to cycles that require less water. (It’s like giving up Doritos for life–we can all do it, we just don’t want to do it.)
Avoid the mega drought. Drink dry-farmed.
Dry Farming Uncorked:
Laura Loves: Saving water by bathing my dog in rivers instead of the tub or drinking wine instead of water.
Going brown to go green, but not watering ridiculous lawns.
Fun Facts: In many European wine regions, like Burgundy or Bordeaux, irrigating vines is illegal.
Since the 1970s, the land area effected by droughts has doubled.
Even dry areas like Paso Robles, which receive less than 12 inches of rain per year, can dry farm grapes.
Dry-farmed Wines to Try:
Turley Wine Cellars 2013 Juvenile Zinfandel, California $23
Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc and/or Noir, Paso Robles $17