DROUGHT AND WINE
As Californians, we are concerned about the water supply in our state, the policies for managing the water, and what the current drought means for the state as a whole.
As winemakers and owners of vineyards, however, we have added concern for the integrity of our water supply. This concern is shared by winemakers up and down California, as noted in a recent Bloomberg story.
The good news for Clos de la Tech, as for most vineyards using the classical Burgundian techniques, is that our water comes only from our own wells.
Though it used to be illegal to irrigate in Burgundy (and by all accounts, the new rules make it so difficult that it really is still illegal,) we all knew it was simply because they received summer rains.
But, the improved quality of wine from reduced irrigation is well known. So following the "Burgundian techniques" using irrigation requires some science.
Our vines are typically watered with only 1.0 gallon of water, just five times per year. This represents a “water deficit” that is instrumental in producing grapes with the most intense and complex flavors – perfect for our ideal Pinot.
In addition, our techniques for managing the growth of the vines results in much of the plant’s energies being focused on grape production rather than vine and leaf growth, further reducing the grapevines’ water demands.
Focus on Grape Production
We are hopeful that California’s drought will end soon, but we will continue our water-deficit practices, which also happens to be good for the wine.
Other water saving measures we practice are:
1. Hand tilling weeds (which otherwise rob water from vines and soil)
2. Delay irrigation to drive roots deeper as they follow receding rain-fallen water
3. Monitor soil moisture with moisture probes
4. Monitor vine stress with “pressure bombs,” a device that measures vine water stress, to confirm our desired degree of vine stress
CDLT Moisture Probe