All plants need some amount of water to grow, and grapevines are no exception. But the thing to keep in mind is where and why you are growing your grapes: In your backyard in a small residential neighborhood, for fruit? Or on prime vineyard acreage, to grow wine grapes? If you fall into the latter category, then you either already own a vineyard or are in the market to buy. You also know that the environment—including the weather, soil and location—in which the vines grow plays a huge role in a wine’s taste and quality.
Let’s ask expert vineyard appraisers in Napa County, CA to find the answers to some interesting questions: How much water do grapevines really need, and what does the wet spring we’ve had mean for California wine grapes?
Spring rain vineyard growth
Much of California’s wine countries are situated in Mediterranean-like climates by default. This is because most of the state experiences significant wet and dry seasons, which creates a climate common to the Mediterranean.
As you may know, California had been in a drought for several years—until this past winter and early spring, when rain fell for days on end. For some wine areas, the rain fell hard, bringing welcomed water, soon to be cleared away by the warm sun, but others, including Napa Valley, experienced overflowing rivers that caused mudslides that led to falling trees that crushed a number of established vines. Despite this, many vineyards see the recent rains as a fresh start for the new grape growing season.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to watering grapevines:
- Although established grapevines are more drought-tolerant than some other crops, they must be watered regularly. It’s especially important to remember to water deep into the soil weekly in the absence of adequate rainfall until flowers turn to fruit.
- All California vineyards have to gauge watering on factors like the soil and growing conditions. During drought conditions or overly dry or windy months, water tends to leach from sand, collect in clay and roll off compacted earth, which is why you must water in small increments on a regular basis to ensure the water can penetrate the soil. Grapevines cannot grow well in clay soil, so you might consider replacing clay with proper, nutrient-rich soil.
- Though some watering methods are more efficient that others, each vineyard grower has their own preferred way to water, whether it’s using soaker hoses, drip systems or sprinklers. Soaker hoses and drips deliver water directly to vine roots to conserve moisture and avoid root rot from overwatering. Soakers also keep leaves dry to reduce the risk of grapevine fungal disease. Finally, water early in the morning so less water evaporates, which is what would happen if you watered at midday.
At County Appraisals Inc., we’ll take the time to do a complete walk-through of and thoroughly inspect the vineyards we have been entrusted to appraise. If you would like to schedule a time to speak with one of our expert vineyard appraisers in Napa County, CA, feel free to give us a call. We look forward to meeting you!
Categorised in: Vineyard Appraisals
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