Local winemaker produces drought-resistant wine

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VALLEY CENTER, Calif. -- In the midst of one of the worst droughts in California history, a local winemaker is trying to prove he can have a successful wine business with less water.

“We’re getting less and less water and because of that water is becoming more expensive,” said vintner and owner of Vesper wines, Chris Broomell. He has been harvesting his wines using the method of “dry farming,” which relies solely on minimal rainfall instead of irrigation water.

“You’re basically playing poker with mother nature,” Broomell said. “You kind of have to do knowledgeable of it and react to it.”

According to Broomell, the process requires growing overgrowing the vegetation surrounding the vines. Their roots help soak and trap in moisture when it rains.

Broomell is able to produce 3,000 cases of wine per year with this method. Due to the technique, the taste and blend of wine is unique to that of most California wines.

“Any fruit or vegetable, the more water you add the more it tastes like water but if you restrict that you get something that is a little more flavorful,” said Broomell.

He relates the taste more to certain European wines grow in Mediterranean regions.

Before the 1970s dry farming was standard practice in California, especially in San Diego however with the invention of drip irrigations, it fell out of popularity but Broomell believe it is making a comeback.

“It makes more economical and sustainable sense,” said Broomell.

Dry farming can also be used to grow crops like Avocados.

Broomell will be featuring his wine during a Stehly Farms event March 8..

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