Napa Valley vineyards could face reduced yield in 2014

Jan. 29, 2014

NAPA, Calif. — Unseasonably warm weather combined with the state's current drought conditions could hurt the wine industry in Napa.

NAPA, Calif. — The Napa Valley Grapegrowers hosted a live-streamed news conference on Tuesday to discuss the expected effects of the state's long-standing drought conditions on this year's crops, according to an article by the Napa Valley Register.

The abnormally warm weather this January has caused grapevines to come out of a dormant stage early, noted the article.

In addition, 2013 was the driest year on record in the state, with just 2.5 inches of rainfall in Napa County, which typically receives between 15 and 20 inches, the article reported.

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Grapegrowers will face challenges not only irrigating their crops, continued the article, but the lack of water will also greatly reduce cover crops — which provide erosion control, add soil nutrients and encourage helpful insects — and make it difficult to create protective ice coverings on delicate new buds and shoots during April's frost season and cool down vineyards during summer heat spikes.

“More than ever we’ll be relying on technology to determine when to water,” said Domenick Bianco, vineyard manager for Renteria Vineyards. "Timing is key to reducing waste."

Read the full article here.