More California winemakers using less water to grow grapes

AP News
Posted: Oct 03, 2015 11:08 AM

RUTHERFORD, Calif. (AP) — California's drought is drawing new attention to an old way of growing wine grapes.

Grower Frank Leeds at Frog's Leap Winery in Napa Valley is among a small number of growers who produce wine grapes with no irrigation at all.

Leeds and other growers like him say dry-farming is about the quality of the grapes produced, not necessarily about the water saved.

As the wine harvest closes this month, wine experts say the majority of California wine is still produced using irrigation.

But winemaker Joel Peterson in Napa Valley says roughly a quarter of growers increasingly are using what's called "deficit irrigation."

Peterson says the thinking is that a slightly thirsty vine produces better wine.