It hasn’t rained in three years. Drought in the vineyard is a reality. The previous two years we saved the rainfall due to specific episodes of intense showers. Either way, despite the rains this weekend, we don’t have moisture deep in the soil. The vines are sprouting thanks to the water reserves that the plant itself has. We are headed, if it doesn’t rain, for a meager production of grapes.
Drought is an issue that worries us. The lack of rain and the high temperatures that the meteorology has ahead of us these days can negatively affect the production of grapes, as we said, but also the quality of the wines. At the winery, we have been trying to adapt to reducing the amounts of water we use, especially for cleaning, for some time. Restrictions will not be a problem here.
However, in the vineyard drought can affect the plant at different stages of its vegetative cycle and here we can no longer do so much in the short term. The most immediate effects will be noticed during the growth of the plant, in the next few days. It can slow down shoot growth and make the leaves smaller. When the plant is thirsty, it has to close its stomata to prevent water loss through transpiration, this reduces photosynthesis and therefore does not have as much energy to make new tissues.
In the coming months, if things continue like this, it will affect the size of the berries and consequently the quality of the wine, because we will lose intensity and aroma. If this ends up happening, there’s little we can do about it and we hope it doesn’t end up happening!
What are we doing
In the risky sport that is viticulture, we have been trying to get ahead of premonitions of global warming for some years now. That is why at one point we decided that planting local varieties was an effective way to fight the drought. The local varieties are more adapted to the environment, need less water and therefore better withstand the dry and windy climate of the Empordà. Another of the measures has been to lovingly prune each and every one of the vines, so that when they reach this point it is easier to push the sap.
In any case, none of these measures will be sufficient if we cross the threshold of warming of 1.5 ºC which according to the scientific community will be the beginning of a series of extreme weather phenomena. At the winery we have tried to reduce as much as possible our dependence on energy from fossil sources, which is why we have had solar panels for self-supply for a few years now. We have also managed to reduce the weight of the bottles by looking for less heavy glass and saving a few kilos in the final transport of the goods. All this is probably just the beginning of what we will have to do in the coming years. The rest is to entrust ourselves to the wisdom of the earth.