California Winemaker Sues Napa County Over Water Rights

Renowned winemaker Jayson Woodbridge is suing Napa County for well policies allegedly restricting access to groundwater at four of his vineyards.

The vineyards, Double Vee Properties LLC, Caldera Ranch LLC, Hundred Acre LLC and Hundred Acre Wine Group Inc., told the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday that Napa County violated their rights under the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property without due process.

Proposed New Water Rules Aim to Mitigate Impact of Vineyards

A state water regulators meeting…not the kind of thing that makes you think “I’ve got to be there.”

But with new environmental rules on the table for vineyards across Sonoma and Mendocino, there was hardly an empty seat to be found at the latest gathering of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

In Russian River’s Fabled Vineyards, the Harvest of a Drought

Rich with promise and potential, the grapes that create the Russian River Valley’s famed wines are ripening in the intense midday heat.

But soon they’ll face the fight of their lives, deprived of water as the state diverts scarce supplies from agriculture to the region’s thirsty cities and subdivisions.

“Whatever water we have on the ground is all we’re going to get,” said Mendocino County supervisor and plant scientist Glenn McGourty, whose district spans the rural upper reaches of the river’s watershed, where the dance of cool nights and hot days, combined with alluvial soil, produces unique growing conditions.

State Orders Sweeping Water Restrictions for Towns, Vineyards Along Russian River

Several communities and hundreds of vineyards in California’s Wine Country are being cut off from their water supply because there’s not enough water to go around. State regulators on Wednesday ordered nearly 1,000 water rights holders in the Russian River watershed to stop drawing supplies from the basin’s many rivers and creeks, the latest turn in California’s deepening drought. The order means many small water agencies and scores of growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties will have to fall back on stored water or other sources, if they have it, or go without water entirely. State officials say the restrictions will not apply when human health and safety are at risk, though the exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis and are yet to be issued.