The dreaded "D" word has the California wine industry on edge. We're talking about "drought," given that January and February were deemed the driest on record in the northern Sierra Nevada, the heart of water supplies for California farmers.
While rain and snow totals are well ahead of last season's overall numbers, the past two months have hit hard. These challenging conditions are thus far a turn from the stellar 2012 growing season, which resulted in a state- record crop boasting 3.89 million tons of crushed wine grapes. Farmers and wine industry observers are staying hopeful for a good soaking this spring.
"Many of our significant rain events came in March and April (last year), and we still have real potential for that," said Camron King, executive director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission. "From what I'm hearing, people are cautiously optimistic that we'll be getting more rain soon. Since we had such a good water year last year, I don't think the concerns are as large."