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Local wineries optimistic about recent rain

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Posted at 10:33 PM, Jan 06, 2023

Recent rain is good news for local wineries.

The hills at Tablas Creek Vineyard are turning bright green after recent rain.

A viticulturist at Tablas Creek says that the wet start to the year is welcome news after three dry years.

“So far, it’s been amazing. It’s exceeded all of our expectations. We’re closing in on 20 inches and it’s barely January,” said Jordan Lonborg.

Wineries in Northern San Luis Obispo County say they are optimistic about a strong start to the rainy season.

“We’ll have to wait and see but this is a really positive sign. It’s about as good as we can ask for as a start to the growing season,” said Tablas Creek Marketing Director Ian Consoli.

Tablas Creek is flowing strong and has filled up this small reservoir that was built decades ago by a previous owner.

“This creek hasn’t flowed like this since 2019. This is actually at capacity right now-- we’re overflowing into the spillway,” said Lonborg, adding that early rains allowed the grape plants to soak up nutrients before going dormant.

Post-harvest, there’s a really massive root flush. So, if you can get a saturated soil profile and you have a lot of nutrients in the ground already-- those vines are gonna uptake a lot of that nutrient before they go into dormancy,” explained Lonborg.

Consoli adds that recent rain is welcome news after a couple years of drought.

“We’ve had a couple down years production-wise as a result of this drought-- among other factors—so, it’s great to feel positive about the upcoming vintage.”

Consoli says that the rain has been steady enough to avoid any issues with erosion.

“It’s also been dispersed properly where you get a little bit here and it starts to wake up the soil,” he explained. “Luckily, we farm regeneratively here and all of our cover crop is holding onto all that soil, keeping it in place.”

Employees say that they welcome more rain but hope that too much doesn’t fall at once.