Santa Barbara- S County

Water Issues Haven't Worried Some Wine Grape Growers

Weather is similar to other regions where top grapes are produced

Vintner's Weekend

Buellton, Calif. - Some wine grape growers might be able to get through the drought better than other farmers. 

When the weather goes dry and the rainfall tapers off, the Santa Barbara County region can resemble other areas where world class grapes are grown.

At the Vintners' Festival last week in buellton, winemakers were not showing worried faces when asked about the weather, at least for now.

Longtime winemaker Andrew Murray said, for him, the weather still works well enough to create his favorite blends. "It's a coastal desert that's what makes this place a  great place to grow and make good wine," said Murray. "Especially the Rhone variety. It's just like the Rhone valley. I'm OK with it."

In San Luis Obispo County, water shortages in the Paso Robles wine region has become a big concern with many wells showing signs of a shortage. Some residents believe the growth of the wine industry has contributed to the increased usage, at a time when the rainfall is only about 40 percent of normal.

Water management issues have been in the forefront of discussions between many groups including farmers, and county leaders.

The wineries throughout the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valley's have received international acclaim for the products produced over the last four decades.

Wine grapes are ranked number three on the Santa Barbara County 2012 Agricultural Report with gross production of $91-million.

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