Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
12.12.2011  
 

Napa Grapegrowers Make a Trade

Grapevines pulled to reshape river, control floods, save salmon run

 
by Andrew Adams
 
 
Napa River flood restoration
 
A combination of local, county and federal funds paid for this Napa River floodplain restoration project in Rutherford, Calif. The project is one of several along the river being funded through $3.3 million in grant money. Source: EPA
Rutherford, Calif.—Vineyard owner and manager Davie Piña admitted that persuading vineyard owners to sacrifice vines for the sake of juvenile salmon and river sediment wasn’t an easy sell.

“That was probably the hardest part,” said Piña, owner of Piña Vineyard Management LLC and leader of the Rutherford Dust Association’s committee on river restoration. Most Napa Valley growers, he said, either have left the flood-prone river to government management or tried to control erosion by dumping rubble along its banks.

Only in recent years have Piña and his group, among others, found willing listeners for their message: What benefits the river will also help vineyard owners in the long term.

Piña joined other growers as well as U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, top staff from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon on Dec. 9 to announce nearly $3.3 million in federal and local funding to pay for restoration efforts covering 15 miles along the Napa River. According to the EPA, more than 40 growers have committed to converting a total of 135 acres of farmland permanently to wildlife habitat.

Reshaping the riverbed
They convened along the river at the Rutherford Reach, which is being altered from the Napa River’s predominant formation, in which the riverbed in cross-section resembles a narrow “V,” its steeply plunging banks overhung with oaks. Now, nearly a mile of the Reach has been transformed, with an open bank sloping gradually to the bottom.

The broader flow is designed to handle winter storm surges in a more efficient manner than the original, steeper riverbank, which funnels water downstream at higher levels and a swifter pace, undermining riverbanks and triggering their collapse. Faster flows wash more sediment into the river and can flush out juvenile salmon or steelhead as they try to navigate their way downstream to San Francisco Bay and ultimately the Pacific.

A total of  $1.68 million has been earmarked for the entire Rutherford Reach project. About $1 million has already been spent on the west bank, unveiled by officials last week. The east bank, essentially a “before” image of the Napa River system prior to restoration, will be transformed this spring.

Members of the press, politicians, government staff and vineyard owners wandered along the improved bank as they listened to details of the project. Honig Winery, Round Pound Estate and Carpy-Conolly ranch donated land for the restoration.

Jorgen Blomberg, a design team director with Phillip Williams and Associates, a San Francisco consulting firm helping plan the projects, said that when growers agree to an easement on their property, they do not receive compensation for the land value or the cost of lost production.

He said five acres of vines were removed for the finished riverbank project; the east bank project slated for spring will require more acreage. Blomberg said the project would also require removal and replanting of 200 to 220 olive trees. The EPA announced that growers throughout the valley have pledged 20 acres of farmland to restoration efforts. 

Benefits anticipated
Andrew Collison, another designer with Phillip Williams, said restoration efforts also would include removing invasive plant species and habitat restoration to improve the survival rates of juvenile steelhead and salmon and improve the river ecosystem as a whole.

While the growers sacrifice land, they also benefit from better flood control that should limit property loss due to erosion. Removing invasive plant life helps curtail the spread of destructive vineyard pests.

Another major restoration project is expected to be complete by January 2014. The EPA plans to restore 3.9 miles of river in the Oakville-Oak Knoll area south of Rutherford, but it still needs landowner agreements for the $720,000 project.

In November, officials and environmentalists heralded removal of a concrete barrier below a bridge spanning the Napa River near St. Helena. The $1 million project is expected to make it easier for Chinook salmon and steelhead to reach their upriver spawning grounds.

Jared Blumenfeld, administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, said it’s not often that farmers reach out to regulators. In Napa, though, it was the local property owners who first came to the government looking for a way to improve the river. “The story of the Napa River is a great story,” he said. “Farmers, vintners—people who cared about Napa—realized there was a problem with the river.”

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
August 2014 $558 million
5%
$7,613 million
6%
August 2013 $531 million $7,167 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
August 2014 $78 million
17%
$1,686 million
10%
August 2013 $67 million $1,530 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
August 2014 218
12%
224
19%
August 2013 194 189
     
 
MORE » Released on 09.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • October 8
     
    Exporting Wine to China
     
  • October 10-13
     
    Celebration of Harvest Weekend in Santa Barbara
     
  • October 16-19
     
    Martha's Vineyard Food & Wine Festival
     
  • October 17-19
     
    Harvest Wine Weekend in Paso Robles
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Optimization of limited water resources in irrigated vineyards »
 
Very interesting article! Sap flow monitoring was in the past mostly used for research but...
Reader: Virginie Scoarnec
 
Article: New York OKs Out-of-State Grapes »
 
If the resultant wine, using out of state juice,bears the "American" on the label, I...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Financial Impact of Napa Quake Rising »
 
I still think the numbers are low and don't include legal fees. Section 165 was...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting the Effects of Wine Closures »
 
In addition to oxidation of somee of the SO2, post-bottling chemical changes are a continuation...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting the Effects of Wine Closures »
 
I agree with the 14:46 post. I have switched to screwcap on most of my...
Reader: Chris Baker
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2014 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Tasting Room Manager
 Los Gatos, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Work At Wine-Searcher ...
 Telecommuting, Auckland
General Administration and
 Director Of Marketing
 St. Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Northern California Sa...
 St. Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Event Planner
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 New York Regional Sale...
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Asst. Store Manager/ A...
 Petaluma, CA
General Administration and
 Lead Wine Tracker
 St. Helena, CA
Winemaking and Production
 District Manager, Wisc...
 Milwaukee, WI
Sales and Marketing
 District Manager, Metr...
 White Plains, NY
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.