While we can all agree that the California drought is an extremely serious issue, inflicting widespread economic damage on the Golden State, the four year dry spell might have a silver lining right here in Napa Valley. At least that’s what local Vintners told the Wall Street Journal in a story titled “California Drought Produces Tastier Wine Grapes.”
California’s drought cost the state $2.2 billion in losses last year and added expenses for its giant agriculture industry, while cutting 17,100, or 3.8%, of the state’s farm jobs. However, we who live in the famed wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties are the exception to that bad news. In fact, the warm days, cool nights and dry weather we have been experiencing have created grapes of superior taste and quality. Local vintners say they haven’t experienced anything like this since the last drought in 2007-2009.
“This year’s vintage could be one for the ages,” said Michael Coats, co-owner of Valerie’s Vineyard in Sonoma County, which specializes in Pinot Noir.
Other local vintners agree, explaining reduced water forces the grapevines to produce smaller berries, which results in sugar and flavors being more concentrated. In fact, too much rain can cause the grapes to be covered in mildew and mold, negatively affecting the taste of the wine.
“If there’s a silver lining to the drought in terms of wine grapes, it’s that they are really drought tolerant,” said Michael Honig, president and co-owner of Honig Vineyard & Winery in Napa County. Another positive to the dry weather is it causes grapes to ripen faster, leading to vineyards being harvested weeks earlier than normal and completely avoiding problems that can come with autumn storms.
Even though California wines are ranking high due to the drought, vintners are adamant that they do not want the drought to continue. Dried up groundwater supplies and a buildup of salt in the soil can cause damage to the grapevines.
“All of us in Wine Country hope for a normal year of rain to get out of the drought cycle,” Valerie’s Vineyard’s Coats said, adding: “Too much rain will be as bad as too little rain.”
I hope this blog delivers a little sunshine to the otherwise bad news we continue to hear about the California drought. If you are searching for your own private estate, winery or vineyard in Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley, please contact me at 707-738-4820 or email [email protected]. As a top producing Realtor® in Napa Valley, I have access to some extraordinary wineries, vineyards, estates and homes in Napa, Yountville, Saint Helena and Sonoma County that are not on the open market, as well as a deep knowledge of some exceptional overlooked on-market offerings. The off-market inventory is extraordinary right now and each and every property has spectacular views. I look forward to helping you buy or sell your property in this beautiful part of the world!