The obvious question people want to know is – how is the drought affecting the grapes? For us, we are quite fortunate. Our wells and irrigation ponds have kept us in good shape throughout the growing season. Most of our vineyards are dry-farmed. We practice deficit irrigation, watering only when probes in the soil tell us it’s absolutely necessary. It’s just one more way in which we practice sustainable winegrowing. The growing season has been warm and glorious with several heat spikes. The grapes have ripened evenly and flavor and development are right where we want them to be. That being said, yields appear to be down from the previous few years. This is not surprising after three huge harvests in a row – the vines appear to be saying “we’re tired”. Quality is still extremely high and hope rings eternal for a smooth harvest season. Weather pundits continue to predict an El Niño event on par with ‘97-‘98 which would certainly help to recharge the ground water and empty reservoirs. That remains to be seen, but all fingers and toes are crossed for a very wet winter – after harvest season of course (and just to be prepared, we are in the middle of re-roofing the entire winery)!