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Russian River Battle Over Water Heats Up

on 04/11/10 at 10:39 pm


As government officials argue over water use in Sonoma and Mendocino, grapegrowers worry their crop will freeze.

To grapegrowers, few things are as terrifying as a late spring frost that threatens to kill off vine buds just as growing season is starting. The most common form of protection is spraying the vines continuously with water—the heat generated as the resulting ice forms shields buds from cold air. But what if there is no water?

A battle between California vineyard owners and government regulators over using Russian River water for frost protection is heating up. Late last month, federal officials rejected a Sonoma County proposal for monitoring and reducing river water usage. The feds believe the proposed rules were insufficient. At the same time, a winery released a study claiming new restrictions would cost the state economy more than $2 billion a year.

{Full story via Wine Spectator}

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