What Does a Drought Year Mean for Grapes?


The Yakima River Basin is short of water this year, with insufficient snow in the mountains, and a very warm, dry May—the warmest May since 1895.

Water is allocated. The oldest user has first dibs. Paradisos is in the Roza Irrigation District, one of the newer ones, mostly developed after WW2.

At this time we are told we will get only 73% of our normal allocation. A share is 30 acre inches. One share per acre. So this year a share is 21.9 acre inches. Older districts aren’t rationed until we go to zero.

Plenty for vineyards, we use only 10-15 inches a year. Which means we have enough for the whole farm. One of the motivations for growing wine in the Roza is these regular water shortages. If half your land is vineyard and half is apples, that requires a full allotment, you have plenty. If you are all apples, not so good.

A few years back we only got 47%, enough for grapes but short for the pastures. They shut down the whole system for a month. Fortunately, our deep soil and huge root system got us through a month without irrigation.


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Organic Vineyard Tour & Wine Tasting

Visit four vineyards with our master winegrower, Paul Vandenberg, owner of Paradisos del Sol Winery, including our own organic vineyard.

Every day except Saturday at 9 am, $20, group and student rates. Reserve your spot today!

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