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Winter has brought the California wine region much need rain. We checked in with our Sonoma Coast Winemaker Justin Ennis as well as Viticulturist Betsy Baldwin to gain further insight.
“From my perspective, all the rain we’ve received is great. It has filled our winery reservoir, replenished much need ground water in the region, and has done wonders for our cover crops here in Freestone. I’m feeling energized for the 2023 growing season,” said Justin Ennis. “In terms of impact on the growing season so far, the rain has delayed pruning somewhat and the team was diligent in minimizing any erosion damage that could have happened during the heavy rains.”
“More rainfall during the winter means less early irrigations and a longer dry down period for the soils. This helps to reduce water use during the early stages of vine growth. We always appreciate when Mother Nature helps us out!” stated Betsy Baldwin. “We’ve already exceeded the average amount of rainfall by this time in the water year. The water year is considered to start in October and ends in September of the following year . In Napa Valley, the 5-year average water year (October – January) is 14 inches. Our current water year (October 2022 – January 2023) is 26 inches. In Freestone, a 5-year average water year (October – January) is 19 inches. The current water year (October 2022 – January 2023) is 29 inches.”
Recent reports show that snow pack in the Sierras is almost 200% of normal for this time of year. This is wonderful news for California as the snowpack supplies the state with water for the rest of the year. We will see how things progress over the next two-three months, but we are incredibly grateful and optimistic for the 2023 growing season.