Californian vintners respond to “precious and limited” water

on 15/10/13 at 10:30 am

Wine

The Californian wine industry uses on average 6-7 gallons of water for one gallon of wineAn increasing pressure on water supply in California is driving vintners to trial more accurate methods to measure evaporation rates from the state’s vineyards.

During a discussion on “sustainable” viticulture practices in California during the inaugural California Wine Summit from 1-4 October, both Steve Lohr and Matt Gallo stressed the challenges surrounding water use in California, before sharing their company’s responses.

“Water is precious and limited and so you have to manage it very precisely – you don’t want to under or over provide,” began Matt Gallo, head of winegrowing at Gallo Family Vineyards.

As a consequence, he said that Gallo has fitted soil moisture monitors at his company’s vineyards that send information to databases, which, in turn, schedule irrigation according to each vineyard’s needs.

Furthermore, he explained that satellite imagery is giving Gallo information on vine vigour which, when combined with soil maps, allows the company to see which plots are too vigorous and which are under performing.

Together, he said such information has allowed Gallo “to make more accurate decisions around water, pests and stress.”

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