Returning for the third year in a row to the Central Coast, the Vintage Report hosted leading winemakers, vineyard managers and top scientists from the region. During the discussion, prominent scientists from across the U.S. West Coast presented their latest research findings focusing in on the question: What physiological links existed during the 2016 harvest between climate, plant condition and fruit quality?
Viticulture in Paso Robles is at a crossroads. Will we be stuck in the mud and continue to move laterally or will we become progressive with our farming and winemaking research, development and execution?
For decades, new generations of farmers and winemakers have continued the practices of their predecessors because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”. Unfortunately, the stakes have gone up, the climate has changed, a severe drought has arrived and with all of this competition has increased. We can not only claim that we are keeping up in the vineyards and wineries, we must prove it. If we are chasing the great wine regions of the world, why aren’t we asking what they are doing to improve and evolve? We must also face the reality of a severe drought that has led to several viruses and vineyard problems.
The vineyard is our starting place. Let’s go into attack mode and review every aspect of our farming and ask tough questions like, "What are we doing to maximize what little water we have? Are we attempting to prune the same way we always have and put out the same amount of water?” It is time we get together and begin tackling these issues with an open mind. The ordinary and status quo are no longer acceptable. Now is the time to start investing in new technologies in the vineyard and winery that will help us become more efficient and give us hard data needed to increase the quality of our grapes and wine.