Landowners along four Russian River streams to receive state order on water use

Thousands of rural Sonoma County landowners will receive orders, starting this week, to provide state w

Grif Okie used to swim during summer months in Mark West Creek in this pool that was up to his armpits and in some places deeper,

Grif Okie used to swim during summer months in Mark West Creek in this pool that was up to his armpits and in some places deeper,

ater regulators with details of their use of surface and well water, the latest step in an emergency effort to protect coho salmon and steelhead trout in four watersheds draining into the Russian River.

Higher prices, fewer tons keep North Coast winegrape value unchanged at $1.4B

The value of the 2014 winegrape crop in most of the North Coast region was virtually unchanged from the record level of last year, as a nearly 7 percent drop in tonnage from the record-setting 2013 crop was offset by a grape-price increases in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties, according to preliminary official figures released Tuesday.

Read the full article from the North Bay Business Journal

Upper Russian River water rights cut

State authorities Thursday began notifying hundreds of water rights holders on the upper Russian River to stop diverting water from the drought-stricken watershed because there isn’t enough supply to go around.

The unprecedented step affects 652 water rights issued after Feb. 19, 1954, held by dozens of growers and local water agencies, some of which rely on the river for their main supply. Many have other sources, however, that could help protect them through the dry season.

The order, which was dated Wednesday and takes effect immediately, was issued in letters sent out by the state Water Resources Control Board.

Read the full article from the Press Democrat

North Coast vineyards going strong, but drought raises worry

NAPA — North Coast wineries and growers remain optimistic following a second consecutive year of record-setting harvests and strong consumer demand for grape varietals that thrive in the region, particularly pinot noir.

“You have to be really screwed up to be a grower in Napa or Sonoma and not be making money,” Joe Ciatti, a mergers and acquisitions consultant with Zepponi & Company of Santa Rosa, said Wednesday at the annual Vineyard Economics Seminar.

Wineries continue to plant new vineyards and sign long-term contracts with growers to ensure access to grapes. Crop yield is increasing statewide, despite no significant increase in acreage along California’s coast. If anything, wineries are facing the unintended problem of having too many grapes coming in and not enough capacity to contain them all.

Read the full article from the Press Democrat