Winery Flourishes Despite Drought

Local Santa Barbara winery sees one of its best harvests yet

Weather and Wine

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sun, warm temperatures, and below normal rainfall are all ingredients for a farmer's nightmare in California.

But while this calendar year is going down as one of the driest in many locations up and down the coast, some businesses were not as affected by Mother Nature's dry spell.

"We still picked more, probably 15-20 percent more than we were expecting going into harvest," said wine maker president Bruce McGuire at the Santa Barbara Winery.

McGuire says it was something that came to him as a surprise.

"I knew that we were going to have small vines because we had so little rain, I was expecting small clusters, small berries," he said.

McGuire says the reason:  a good starter crop and a period of good weather last year forming a grape-friendly habitat.

"The vines in the fruit buds that we leave to get an X amount of clusters, there were a lot of set clusters in those buds," McGuire said. "The fruit for this coming harvest was set for last spring, so the conditions during the previous year affects the crop for the next year."

What makes the perfect fruit? Good color and concentration.

"The feeling is this was a good size crop, but of very high quality," said McGuire.

Since we're in a drought right now, if we don't get rain any time soon by the time they start their new growing season at the vineyards, McGuire said vineyards could run into some trouble for this next season of wine.

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