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California Wine News Briefs

Since the California wine industry is worth about $51.8 billion to the State’s economy, and has $103 billion impact on the entire country’s economy, what happens in California is invariably significant, and at the very least, interesting.


So here’s a round up of a few stories that you may not see elsewhere.


The Drought

Let’s start with the drought.  Still on going but the news is slightly better with some big rains in the last week or so filling reservoirs and more rain is on the way.  Which leads us to the practice of dowsing or water witching.


Water Witching

None other than Marc Mondavi, a vice president of that esteemed winery (C.K. Mondavi and Krug) is a dowser in demand.  He’s been at it for 38 years.  Dowsing is an old time art using divining rods, which can be made of wood, or perhaps copper, even coat hangers.   To see how it works, check YouTube for videos.


Scientists say there’s no proof that dowsing works and when it does, it is because of luck.  Tell that to John Franzia, one of the owners of Bronco Wine Co., which is the biggest vineyard owner in the state with 40,000 acres.   While they use other technologies to find new sources of water, he is a firm believer in using dowsers and has done so for the past 15 or 20 years.  He thinks dowsers do a better job than all the electronics and technology used by hydrogeologists.



Wine Exports reached a new record in 2013.  Value rose 16% to $1.55 billion.  California wine accounted for 90% of the exports.  The markets that grew the most were the European Union, Canada, China and Mexico.


California exports one fifth of its wine production and is on track to reach its goal of $2 billion in exports by 2020.