As we finally start to experience Spring in Northeast Ohio, I can’t help but keep my focus on the drought situation in California. From talking to family and friends on the west coast it is amazing to see what they are experiencing and how they are reacting to limited water usage and just having to deal with no rain in the forecast.

Even tougher to imagine is how the wineries are handling this. Sure, grapes strive for drought season and the more they are stressed for water the better the wine will be. However, while that is the general rule of thumb, there is a limit as to how much stress a grape can handle.

In a recent conference the Founder of Fruition Sciences commented that you can cut 40% of your water usage in your vineyard and the grapes would survive. Unfortunately, many wineries are being forced to cut almost 75% of their usage – a steep change that is impacting grape production now.

Other winemakers are suggesting purchasing your favorite vintages now since the drought will lead to a major change in the flavor of the wine going forward. Less water means the grapes will be smaller in size and are a heavier body to the wine. Or, as some of the smaller wineries are seeing this Spring, some vines will need to be ripped out and replaced after the drought which would mean the end of that particular wine.

As the wineries start to look at cost-effective ways to truck water in, many of us on the East Coast are keeping a close eye on wine prices over the next few years to see how the drought will impact the consumption of California wines or will we see an increase of sales from Spain, France and other grape growing countries.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery, please visit

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Amanda Conkol and her husband Chris are the owners of Candlelight Winery in Garrettsville, Ohio. Amanda’s passion for wine is evident in her weekly column “Notes From The Vineyard”, but that’s not all Amanda is passionate about. She maintains a full schedule raising twin daughters, working a day job consulting as an IT Project Manager and is the Girl Troop Leader for her daughters’ troop. When time allows Amanda loves to travel (especially to Disney World) and go for runs throughout Nelson Township.