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Sonoma and Mendocino Wine Regions Prepare For Dry Spell

Due to a lengthy dry spell in Northern California this season, Sonoma and Mendocino counties face a potentially devastating drought. This water shortage poses an immediate threat to Russian River grape growers and the region's hospitality industry.

Local officials have warned residents that water usage cutbacks may be as high as 50 percent. The dry spell won't just be about brown lawns and dry pools. The first to weather the impact? The region's grape growers, who will be forced to reconsider whether or not to turn on the spigots for frost protection in March. In addition, the drought's effects will likely spill over to the entire region's hospitality industry, as restaurants would be facing restricted flow on water, and forced to ration water, which is used in everything from making drinks in-house to doing dishes and mopping the floor.

I find this news alarming, and can't help but think it's a direct result of global warming. Did it ever occur to you how much a climate change could impact a sector such as the restaurant or wine industry?


Join The Conversation
Abbigail Abbigail 8 years
Hang in there! Georgia has been in a horrible drought the past 2 years. We are finally getting out of it, it just took a couple of years. Its easy to blame climate change but droughts have always come and gone
I also agree, stop sending the water down to LA! Tey should have been smart enough to not build in the desert.
We lived through a 6 year drought in the 80's, every NorCal resident should know enough to turn off the spigots. The wine situation is a bit distressing and I too worry about the smaller winerys. Also drought inevitably leads to fire in the area, people should remember to trim the brush by their homes.
fiestamama fiestamama 8 years
Let's stop sending all our northern cal water to the huge natural desert (LA) in the south.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that i always knew that it would impact the agricultural industry and therefore the restaurant this isn't news to me, but it's still hard to deal with sometimes. there's so much revenue that could potentially be lost, and that's another hit to our economy that we just DON'T need.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I live in Sonoma County, know a lot of people in the wine industry. It's very alarming and worrisome. This year could make or break small winemakers. Another problem is when we have too many warm days and the plants "wake up" before they're supposed to.
SillyGirl SillyGirl 8 years
My first reaction is that this shouldnt be too bad, cause grapes for wine are better when underwatered (thats why things like bad soil and forced drought are good terms on wine bottles). It forces the plant to focus growth and taste to the grapes instead of growing more leaves etc. However, I never thought about the water needed to protect from frost, and to run the industry behind the wine making process. Cutting time from my showers is one thing, but dealing with a bad wine year - thats no fun.
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