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
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.
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.
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?