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Severe drought conditions impact Central Coast wineries as California gets closer to reopening


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    APTOS, California (KSBW) — Wineries have been on edge for a while now. From wildfires to COVID-19, they’re recovering from a lot and now prepping for a drought and wildfire season.

Wine maker and owner of Ser Winery, Nicole Walsh said, “Trying to figure out how to how to rebuild and come back from that, um, just extreme hardships on top of having a pandemic.”

It’s been one emergency after another and wineries continue doing everything they can to adapt.

Wine maker and owner of Soquel Vineyards, Peter Bargetto said, “We typically crush about 25 tons a year of Napa Valley fruit. We didn’t crush any last year.”

Nicole Walsh had just opened up her new wine tasting room just two months before COVID-19 hit.

“You’re forced to pivot. Like, OK, now you’re shut down. What is going to happen next?” said Walsh.

But now the biggest threat is the drought.

“The biggest thing that we’re going to see is a reduction in yields this year due to the lack of water, berry weight size. It’s going to be down. ” said Walsh.

The owner of Soquel Vineyards, Peter Bargetto says he knows this all too well.

“Well, we’ve been in the way business for 34 years. We’re survivors. It’s a tough industry to begin with.” said Bargetto.

Drought season is bad for business but good for wine.

“You get a smaller berry. It’s literally half the size. So being that you get a smaller berry, you get more surface area, all your flavor comes from the ski.” said Bargetto.

Bargetto says going into this dry year, he’s hopeful.

“We had no fruit last year. So this year we’re going to make it up.” said Bargetto.

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