Mark Aselstine
August 8, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

The California Drought and My Concern: Growers vs Vintners in Napa

My thoughts on the California drought which is becoming a bigger story with each passing day.  While wine isn't necessarily being affected as of yet, there are some short term (quality of wine in the 2014 vintage and beyond) and longer term concerns (how this affects the grower vs vintner debates that always happen in Napa and no, these debates are not typically cordial).


How are you doing? Mark Aselstine from Uncorked Ventures. So, one of the
things that is starting to come up again and people are starting to ask
about is what effect, if any, the California drought, which is starting to
show up on the national news, is going to have on the wine industry.

We've talked a little bit about it before, both in terms of hot and cold
and the fact that a lot of vineyards actually use more water in the winter
when it's really cold to protect against frost than they do during the
summer to water. But I think a more interesting concept is what's going to
happen over the long term.

Napa specifically has had some historic problems between the growers and
the vintners. There's a whole Ag Preserve system that has been set up at
Napa and has been functioning really since the '60s. There's kind of been a
continual back and forth for exactly how much in terms of marketing should
be able to be done, how many new wineries should be able to be set up,
weddings in Napa and the whole nine yards. I think as there's even more
pressure applied to growers, both in terms of vintners feeling like they
need more quality fruit, better quality fruit continuously on a year by
year basis and now a lack of water, I think you're going to start seeing
some more stuff come up in that regard.

So, it's the growers versus vintners, I don't want to say a battle, but it
could turn into that once again. We've definitely been there before in
Napa, and I wouldn't be surprised if we're going to start to go back.


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