Is It Some Other Day, Yet?

You may be wondering “what kind of title is that ?” and “how the heck does that relate to a wine blog!”  Think back to your childhood, look out the window to a cloudy day, and in a singsong voice, repeat after me…

Rain rain go away come again some other day…

We are desperately waiting for some other day here in California.  This is the driest winter on record- so bad that the governor has declared a state of emergency in preparation for what looks to be an extremely dry summer.  To give you an idea of how bad it is, Las Vegas has received more rain than we have this what-is-passing-for winter

LasVegas_Sign

images-14

Right now, the state government is asking nicely for everyone to reduce water usage by 20%.  According to the Nevada Irrigation District, we are currently looking at a 50% reduction of water for agriculture.  If the current weather pattern holds and we get very little rain, freshwater fish will be impacted and may struggle to survive so the 50% reduction will become mandatory- as in the N.I.D. will reduce all agricultural water flow to 50% of normal.  Not only that, we will be paying more for less water.  Water… the new liquid gold.

Liquid-Gold

So, now that I’ve given the dire forecast, just what does the mean for us- Naggiar- or the wine industry as a whole?  This water reduction would especially impact us at Naggiar due to the soil we have here- it retains very little water, making irrigation a must in the absence of rain.  The vines rely on water to bring nutrients up from the soil to begin the new growth and with no water in the soil from rainfall and limited water from reduced irrigation, the new growth cycle gets off to a very weak start.  This effect will be amplified if we get any heat spells during the water reduction, starting off with physical damage to the leaves, wilting, desiccation, death and leaf loss. This causes inefficient photosynthesis which in turn, causes chemical changes in the berry skins and pulp, leading to no sugar and flavor/tannin development.  In the worst case scenario, the vines will cease operation, the fruit will all dry up and eventually the vine will die.

images-16

To help mitigate this, first and foremost we will be doing the rain dance, praying to all deities (hey, the Muslims and Catholics each took turns a few weeks ago to pray for rain) -any suggestions?- to get some rain to come down.  If somehow we get substantial precipitation in the coming months (the Farmer’s Almanac says it’s supposed be a wet February) it would not come close to filling the reservoirs, but could ease the situation.  However, the Lord helps those who help themselves so we will do our best to roll with the situation and manipulate our irrigation schedule and rely on creative canopy management.

Who knew a cloudy, rainy, stormy day could bring so much joy and happiness?

Heavy Downpour

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About dwdirwin

Wife of Naggiar Vineyards winemaker Derek Irwin, mother to 4 active kids and one dog and newbie blogger!
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6 Responses to Is It Some Other Day, Yet?

  1. I came across a tweet today from Jericho Canyon showing how dry it is in their region and vineyard. All the best on getting some good rainfall soon!

    • dwdirwin says:

      Yes, it’s crazy. I can’t remember a year and winter as dry as this has been- and warm- 70 degrees in January! (sorry don’t know what that is in C). It’s usually beautiful this time of year, with the hills being a vivid green, but everything is still brown and dry. Thanks for the good wishes and reading through my doom and gloom post!

  2. I am certainly feeling for you over here on the East Coast–it sounds like such a dire situation out there!

    • dwdirwin says:

      I know- here you guys are with all of the snow and arctic temperatures and we are sunny and 70 degrees- which would be great if it was May, but January, not so much. Even my kids have been missing the rain and that’s saying something. I guess they will get to experience the joy of water rationing- and monitoring the showers of 4 kids will be no mean feat. I honestly don’t remember a year this dry ever.

  3. traciehogan says:

    I will pray for rain for you and all the others in CA!!! We all need some CA wine!!!

    • dwdirwin says:

      Thank you- we can all use all the help we can get! It’s been sunny and 70 degrees the last few days and the weather shows no sign of changing-totally crazy.

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