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The first very wet winter in four years is upon us! This year’s El Niño, caused by elevated surface water temperatures in the South Pacific, is expected to bring about heavy rains and cooler nights. El Niño rains promise a limited replenishment to our water-starved soils…..if we can keep the water from running away! Fortunately, the rains that we’ve had so far have been wonderfully easy, with a handful of daily accumulations totaling not more than 0.9 inches. Since July 1, 2015 we’ve recorded 8.3”, over 2" more than this time last year! What does this mean for the vineyards? Those frequent, light rains allow the soil to slowly absorb the water, which, over time, help to flush out the salts that have accumulated from the prolonged drought. Our concern over heavy downpours at Adelaida is that the steep slopes will simply allow the water to run off, carrying with it our valuable topsoil. To combat this possibility, just before the first rains began to fall we planted lots of peas, beans, white and yellow mustard, daikon radish, and triticale to build up the biomass of our soils. Right now, the vineyards look beautiful with lots of greens and colors, and we know that we’ve done as much as we can to work in stride with Mother Nature.