Western Grape Growers Endure Winter Temperatures - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Western Grape Growers Endure Winter Temperatures

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Tiny water drops falling on grape vines are making up for dry conditions served up by Mother Nature.

"We'll be running these for 40 hours non-stop."

The lack of wet weather forced fourth generation wine grape grower Brad Goehring to start using irrigation drips four months early! "Putting a wetting pattern underneath the vines no way replicates rain fall which covers everything, but it's the best we can do."

If growers don't water now "that white part there looks a little dry, what it should look like is more of a brighter, darker green like that."

And dry vines mean the crop size could suffer. "We can have some weaker vines in the summer and little crops."

Growers are used to getting several inches of rain by January. Irrigating early is costly. Especially for one grape grower from Riverside County, attending a special water meeting to discuss water transfers and drought preparedness. "We purchase water from Metropolitan Water District which is some of the highest priced water in the state," says Ben Drake.

Water supplies continue to be a concern. "Grapes don't use a lot of water but now those stream systems are at an all time low. I think you have to be very concerned and I think you have to be praying for rain," says David Guy of the Northern California Water Association.

Growers are doing exactly that. "We will continue to irrigate as long as we don't get any rain. If we get some substantial rain then maybe we can back off on that," says Goehring.

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