Small Sips #13: Turning water into wine


JESUS GETS A LOT OF KUDOS for turning water into wine but this is a trick that wineries across the world do all the time when they irrigate their vineyards, a widely-used but controversial practice that can increase grape and wine yields by up to 300%. Banned in many classical European regions, except during ‘extreme weather events’ (e.g. the 2003 heatwave), irrigation is much criticised as, when abused – as it often is – the result is dilute, unripe, manky wine. Wisely employed though it can actually improve wine quality, as severely dehydrated and overheated vines totally shut down – bad news for grapes. It’s worth remembering, too, that without irrigation many famous wine regions (e.g. Mendoza) wouldn’t even be viable!

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