Quenched Grapes

Could our California grapes be turning into California Raisins? 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

As global temperatures rise, the sun is beating down harder than ever on our crops! Like us, grapevines may need more water to replace what’s lost to heat. What amount is JUST right for growing plump, juicy cabernet sauvignon grapes – while still conserving precious water supplies?

Nazareth Torres from the University of California, Davis and team investigated. During a dry season in California, they gave the grapevines extra water. How much extra? Twenty, fifty or one hundred percent of what they lost to evaporation. 

The researchers then measured the amounts of solids in the wine grape’s juice. These solids give wine its color and tantalize our taste buds. They compared these measurements to the normal profile of cabernet sauvignon. 

Results? A FIFTY percent replacement of evaporated water is enough to still make good quality, flavorful wine. This will keep our water resources flowing and the party going!

And if anyone asks, say…you heard it through the grapevine!

Reference: Torres, N., Yu, R., Martínez-Lüscher, J., Kostaki, E., & Kurtural, S. (2021). Effects of Irrigation at Different Fractions of Crop Evapotranspiration on Water Productivity and Flavonoid Composition of Cabernet Sauvignon Grapevine. Frontiers in Plant Science, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2021.712622