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Flooding in the Russian River Valley

If you live in the rest of the country, this hasn’t been a big story. But, here locally in the Bay Area we’ve had something along the lines of 2 months of consecutive rain.

In western Sonoma county, where many wineries line up right next to the Russian River. Things got interesting when an atmospheric river dumped 5+ inches of rain yesterday.

It’s not quite that bad everywhere in Sonoma of course, but Guerneville is one of the classic destinations along the Russian River (it’s the best beach and it’s a spot we find ourselves a handful of times a year with the kids).

Anyway, the river has crested its banks and then some:

Ok, so a few questions are going to come up. From a wine perspective, does the flooding mean anything? Not really, the vines don’t mind it and if anything, this allows even greater dry farming. In fact, one of the main defenses that vineyard owners and growers have against frost, is flooding of the vineyard. So this isn’t really all that unusual at least insofar as the vines being underwater. For the vines themselves, this isn’t a problem unless it continues for a long time.

For the winemakers and other industry related employees in the area. Yeah, this sucks as bad as you think it does. Many live in cheaper regions in western Sonoma county, after all the wine trade can’t keep up with tech salaries, so they’re going to be effected more so than people with other jobs. Plus, many are hourly employees and there’s no guarantee that these wineries will be open any time soon, or that even if they are able to open, that visitors will be able to reach them in any significant numbers.

So yeah, this is going to be a long tough road for those working in wine country, less so for the vines.

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