Paso Robles winery makes sustainable changes due to drought - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Paso Robles winery makes sustainable changes due to drought

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The Still Waters Vineyard in Paso Robles is cutting its water use by 30 to 40 percent due to the drought, but it is not all bad news for the wine business.

"Less water, higher quality," Paul Hoover, owner of Still Waters Vineyard told KSBY Saturday.

It may sound like an unlikely combination but Hoover said his winery is making it work despite the drought.

"We are gradually reducing the amount of water we supplement these vines with to really almost nothing," he said.

Still Waters Vineyard is one of growing number of local wineries and vineyards with a Sustainability In Practice, or SIP, certification.

"SIP-certified growers try to improve the soils every year," Hoover said. "This drought is one of those challenging things in that water is an important nutrient but if we have the soils and the nutrients very available to the vines, then they can use less water to get the nutrients that they need."

Hoover told KSBY less water produces smaller fruit on the vines. Smaller grapes have more intense flavors that high-end wineries want. That niche market to sell grapes to is a saving grace for small wineries and vineyards during the historic drought.

However, Hoover said he has had to cut back selling his grapes to other wineries significantly so his winery has enough left to make its own wine.

"I'm selling less grapes and that's what will happen throughout this whole area," Hoover said. "We're going to all have to adjust a little bit if we don't have that resource."

At Still Waters and most wineries, Hoover said it takes three to four years for a wine grape crop to be bottled and distributed. That means any possible increases in price because of the drought would happen several years from now.

For a full list of SIP-certified wineries and vineyards in our area, click here.

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