September 27, 2023

Episode #705 Wine Withstands Worrisome Weather Woes

Welcome to a very soggy edition of Grape Encounters Radio.  Here’s a preview of this week’s show.  While it’s not the most significant reason that Grape Encounters Host David Wilson left California to come to Italy, He notes, “it is definitely one of the reasons that I became disenchanted with California. When I was a kid growing up, it rained like the dickens, and we would go outside into the flooded streets and stomp around in our bare feet.  Unfortunately, now things have changed.”

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world. You have probably heard the stories of the incredible series of storms that have just been pummeling California, and that does have an impact on wine country.  So to take a deep dive into the effect these recent storms have had on wine country, David welcomes his mentor and friend, who also manages a radio station that Grape Encounters is on.  He is Michael O’Shea, Managing Partner of KSRO in Santa Rosa, California, the news voice of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Wine Country.  Oh, and it just so happens that Michael is a very competent amateur meteorologist.  Any time David and Michael get together, you can count on plenty of lighthearted conversation and laughs.  And a few minutes of off-topic conversation about their furry, four-legged friends.  This edition of Grape Encounters is no exception, but there’s plenty of serious stuff to talk about, too.

Michael explains that much of the damage to the vineyards was done by excessive runoff due to insufficient drainage. Fortunately, most vineyards were spared from significant damage as they had better drainage systems installed.  However, Michael also notes that the storms hit others in the region harder. For example, some farms lost significant cash crops due to flooding, while others had to temporarily shut down operations. Michael explains what might have been done differently to prevent the damage caused by the “bomb cyclone” and suggests that people need to be smarter when it comes to dealing with water management in general.

In a conversation that goes from severe drought to demonic downpours, don’t be surprised to hear about innovations in far-flung places like India, where they are utilizing creative methods such as covering canals with solar panels to slow down evaporation and generating electricity at the same time. Both men agree that this type of innovation is essential if we are going to tackle climate change head-on.

Michael and David are only sometimes wholly aligned when it comes to climate change, and Michael reminds David that nobody really knows what the long-term effects of climate change will be.  He points out that the Earth’s climate has gone through many cycles throughout its history. Both agree that everyone should take good care of the environment and do whatever they can to reduce their environmental impact because, even if natural cycles are partly at play here, human beings contribute enough pollution into the air for us all to take action and be mindful of the environment.  It’s a sentiment that resonates increasingly with many people worldwide, and it’s become increasingly important for them to recognize their part in helping create a more sustainable future for everyone.

This edition of Grape Encounters has been brought to you by Total Wine & More. Absolutely nobody makes great wines, spirits, and beer from around the globe more accessible and affordable than Total Wine & More. Whether you’re an expert, a sommelier in training, or just a wine-loving consumer that could do without all the jargon, Total Wine & More speaks your language. Find what you love. Love what you find at Total Wine & More, or visit Total And please, be 21!

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