wine industry

In wine country, Sonoma tightens limits on farm work during wildfires

After a year of raucous protests and stakeholder meetings, Sonoma County announced it had standardized and reformed its "ag pass" program, which allows farms to bring workers into evacuated areas during wildfires when other residents have been told to flee.The county’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to preserve the program, but also imposed limits on when and how farmers could use it. No paywall

Congress approves $10 billion in disaster aid to agriculture

Farmers and ranchers would be eligible for $10 billion in disaster relief for losses in 2020 and this year under the short-term government funding bill passed by Congress on Thursday. The bill also extended the life of a livestock price-reporting bill until Dec. 3, giving lawmakers time to agree on a multiyear reauthorization.

Wildfires strike California’s wine country

The rapidly moving Kincade fire destroyed the historic Soda Rock winery near Healdsburg in Northern California and "had Sonoma County wine country under siege," the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. "Structures in the famed wine country were burning, including some owned by wineries in the Alexander Valley." Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency as fires burned thousands of acres throughout the state.

Napa voters lean toward limit on vineyard development

Voters in the heart of California wine country, by a slim, 42-vote margin, would restrict the planting of new vineyards in order to protect oak trees and waterways, according to the unofficial results of a Napa County referendum.

Vintners may need different grapes to withstand climate change

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change says that winemakers ought to be learning about the great diversity of grape varieties in order to adapt to a changing climate.

California wildfires char wine country, hit dairy farms

Driven by "diablo" winds, massive wildfires burned hundreds of buildings, including three wineries, and tens of thousands of acres in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, reports the Wine Spectator. Dairy farms and produce growers with crops ripe for fall harvest also were in peril, "but moving farm animals is another story," said the San Francisco Chronicle.

Winegrowers in Texas fear new weedkillers on cotton crop

The wine industry contributes an estimated $2 billion to the Texas state economy, but winegrowers say their livelihood is under threat by weedkillers intended for use on genetically engineered cotton. They are not placated by EPA assurances that new herbicides use formulations that are less prone to drift onto neighboring land in the No. 1 cotton state, or that spray rigs will use anti-drift nozzles, says the Texas Tribune.

Invasive grapevine moth eradicated in California wine country

The invasive European grapevine moth, detected in Napa County in 2009, has been eradicated in California, according to state, county and U.S. agricultural officials. The moth, native to southern Europe, spread to nine other counties before a multi-year campaign contained and then exterminated it.

A climate for French wine, as the world grows hotter

PARIS - Jean Marc Touzard, an economist at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, watched the climate change conference with interest and anticipation last week. He leads an interdisciplinary team in a wide-ranging venture to prepare France’s wine industry for the hotter, drier climate of the future. A study in 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predicted that up to 85 percent of the vineyards in the European Mediterranean would become too warm and dry to grow grapes using current practices if global warming continued unabated.

Wildfires threaten California wine country

The Valley fire that destroyed up to 1,000 buildings in Lake County, about 100 miles north of San Francisco, "threatened to scorch the California wine industry at harvest time," which begins in late summer, reports the New York Times.

A possible beneficiary in California drought: wine grapes

The drought in California has a potential upside - less water means more flavorful wine, says public radio KPCC in Pasadena. A winemaker in Napa, Stephanie Honig, says this could be a banner year for California wine.

Arkansas bill: Burden our farmers, we’ll ban your wine

The Arkansas House passed a bill "that outlaws wine imports from any state that imposes a 'substantial burden' on the Arkansas agriculture industry," says the Associated Press.

Napa wineries jostled by California earthquake

The magnitude 6.0 earthquake in California's Napa wine country damaged buildings and wine held in storage at some wineries.