Home Food & Cooking California’s winter storms: water, water, everywhere

California’s winter storms: water, water, everywhere


Rain-soaked vineyards at Tablas Creek.

In many cases, the winter storms that have lashed California have resulted in tragedy, severe property loss, and the deaths of at least 20 people. In a state that has been in the grips of drought for 20 years, it is a complicated scenario where the much-needed rain is a welcome respite.

As an illustration of the chaos that climate change has brought to California’s weather patterns, the Los Angeles Times reported on 14 December that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California had just declared a drought emergency. These last three weeks were the wettest in California’s recorded history, and Los Angeles County collected 125 million litres of rainwater.

How are California’s winter storms impacting the state’s wine regions?

Sta. Rita Hills

‘The rainfalls were a mess. Full stop,’ said winemaker Matt Dees of The Hilt and Jonata. ‘Flooding and landslides wreaked havoc in this state and certainly in Santa Barbara County.’

‘At the same time, there were a few welcome effects from these massive rain events,’ Dees added. ‘Without a doubt, they refilled the reservoirs and refreshed the aquifer. Furthermore, this rain helped push the salts back down deeper…

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