Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A dry spell?

A really, really long spell.  As of the 17th of January California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for the state, saying that the state is facing "perhaps the worst drought that California has ever seen since records (began) about 100 years ago."  It has indeed been very dry and warm, 75° F today in Oakville, and we haven't had any measurable rainfall since the 6th of December.  Even so, I think the Governor will find plenty of northern California water to send to the southern end of the state.  Ho hum.
Now whilst I am loving this fantastic, but unseasonable weather, I understand that California is a rather dry place - even on a normal rainfall year - and we do need some rain to fall.  In many vineyards, no doubt, soil moisture content is at an all time low, and warm temperatures could mean an earlier than normal budbreak, especially in some white grape varieties.  Yesterday an owner/management company, of a vineyard on the Oakville Crossroad, decided to take matters into their own hands and water their vineyard.  The sprinklers sprinkled all day, were still sprinkling when I left work, and were still sprinkling when I arrived at work this morning.  The ensuing winter wonderland of icicle-laden grapevines was the result of the overnight temperatures dipping below freezing.  It looked fantastic, but I bet it used up a lot of water.

17 comments:

Thud said...

Maybe it will be warm enough for bil and I for once this summer?

Thomas said...

I'll say they used a lot of water, and the selfishness behind that move should somehow be punished.

Water will be the next catalyst for global aggressions, and it's so nice to see how people in your own neighborhood want to hurry the problem.

Over here, we have been receiving arctic weather that I have not seen since my Air Force service in Greenland many, many years ago.

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Vinogirl: one of my favorite photos :-)

Vinogirl said...

Thud: It's never hot enough for Vinomaker.

Tomasso: Selfish perhaps, but punishable? How about the vineyard owner's water rights?

NHW: Thank you.

Thomas said...

VG:

Personal water rights!

Have you been here long enough to have become a bonafide "murkin? ;)

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: Thank goodness you didn't spell that with an 'E'!
No, I'm still very English, but I do recognise that California law says that California farmers can obtain water right permits or licenses, from the Cal EPA, that allow them to use a "reasonable amount of water" for agricultural purposes. Apparently, said water is owned by the government, of course, and they collect large fees in the process of granting water rights to farmers. And also by assessing penalties/fines for irresponsible usage.
In this case I think the vineyard owner would argue that they believed that they had used a 'reasonable' amount of water that day (along with several other vineyards that I saw watering in this manner on my commute). I don't know for sure why they were watering in this way (they have drip irrigation), or even how much water they used (quite a lot I would imagine), but if indeed it was an unreasonable amount and they, (along with the other vineyards being watered that particular day), are to be "punished" then the government will let all of us know.

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Vinogirl, I just can't help myself, but with all the regulations, fees, fines, and shenanigans, I'm surprised that wine can be produced at all.
I say: Buy wine while you can!
Just saying :-(
I can hear it now: "All right-wing vineyards are not wanted here!"
Just saying!

Vinogirl said...

NHW: It is unfortunate that wine may become politicised in this way. But that's what happens when the state government mismanages the people of California’s water supply (by diverting Northern Cal's water to the south all last summer long).

Thomas said...

VG:

Anyone who writes and agrees to a contract that says "reasonable amount" without spelling it out is asking for reasonable trouble...

Personally, I object to government owning what is naturally ours, but I also recognize that some entity has to police the selfish among us.

Also, it's been my understanding that drip irrigation is more efficient at delivering water to a vineyard than sprinklers.

In any case, access to clear water will probably be the cause of the next world war!

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Thomas, sadly I believe WWIII began on 9/11, and we're loosing!

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: Lots of new research on watering, e.g. post, rather than pre, veraison.
I think it is reasonable of me to state emphatically that England will never run out of water.

Thomas said...

Hah! Maybe the war will be situated there, as everyone tries to steal the water...

Oh, and don;t think I had not spelled 'murkin with an e the first time, but thought better of it--better of the spelling, that is.

Thud said...

I'm thinking of growing gills!

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: No one would have to fight the English for water, they'd gladly give it away.

Thud: But you have no wrinkles: an advantage to being constantly soggy, no?

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

I heard you got rain today! Yea!

Vinogirl said...

NHW: Yes, we are getting lots of it (too much in my opinion).

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Vinogirl, somebody put too many quarters in that weather machine; duh! As of Sunday morning, it's still raining, but I understand Monday will begin a clearing :-)