MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2021. BY STEPHANIE BOLTON, PHD, LODI WINEGRAPE COMMISSION.
It’s no secret that the Lodi AVA is filled with smart, experienced winegrowers who believe in rising the tide for the whole region. To say that the sense of community in Lodi is strong is an understatement – and the Lodi Winegrape Commission (LWC) celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary this year is a testament to this commitment to teamwork and to the incredible resiliency of our farming families. Lodi folks are hard-working, efficient people by nature, and working together not only simply just makes sense, but it makes farming winegrapes a whole lot more fun too!
As the Grower Research & Education Director, I am continuously amazed at the ways in which our winegrowing community supports each other. Our Commission is led by a volunteer Board of Directors and volunteer Committees, plus countless others who also donate their time, land, services, and skills to allow us to promote the region, provide practical education and outreach, and conduct viticulture research programs. Why do they give so freely of their time and resources? Because when one farmer thrives, the region thrives.
In the words of Jerry Fry of Mohr-Fry Ranches, “The LWC is an organization that exemplifies what farmers can do when they truly work together voluntarily with their money, precious time, put their self-motivational instincts aside, and think out of the box with the ‘can do spirit’, for the benefit of all.”
Let’s take a look at a recent example of this teamwork in action.
On February 8th, 2021, Lodi Grower John Shinn of Shinn & Son Vineyard Management emailed me because he attended an online irrigation seminar that he thought would be really great for Lodi growers. John wrote:
“Last month I took some pre-recorded online CE webinars for my Nitrogen Self-Certification CE and they were on water budgeting with different technologies, etc. It was super interesting and very applicable to the Lodi Rules program Water Management section. The U.C. Davis Extension person was great at explaining it, but it was mostly involved in north valley orchards. What if the Commission had him or someone else that was a water budgeting expert do something for vineyards in our area. Essentially, help us set-up a rudimentary water budget and find the tools online (local CIMIS stations) and how to use the ETo to find the ETc, crop co-coefficients and soil holding capacity for our area and hopefully even our own vineyards (at least rough ideas). Especially in a drought year, this kind of irrigation management could be critical.“
Within days, we were connected to Dr. Daniele Zaccaria (Agricultural Water Management Specialist, UC Davis), Dr. Kaan Kurtural (Viticulture Specialist, UC Davis), Dr. Mae Culumber (Advisor, UCCE Fresno County), and Dr. Khaled Bali (Irrigation Water Management Specialist, UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center). These University of California experts planned not one, not two, but a series of THREE vineyard water management workshops customized for Lodi growers, using John’s input as a guide to ensure practicality and usefulness (and they are now thinking we may even need a fourth workshop since there is so much great information to communicate!). A wonderful illustration of a university and industry working together to create real-world, impactful results.
Yesterday, on March 11th, 2021, we hosted the first two and a half hour water management workshop with over 70 attendees tuned in. This workshop was recorded and can be viewed here:
Below is information about and a tentative Agenda for our second water management workshop, which will be held on March 18th, 2021. All are welcome to join!
The above example of teamwork was only possible because we have a historically successful regional education, outreach, and research network created and funded by the Lodi winegrowers via the Lodi Winegrape Commission. This robust infrastructure includes growers, wineries, industry, trade, media, governmental and non-governmental organizations, scientists, universities and colleges, and more. We could share many, many other examples of our community spirit – but the best way to understand it is to experience it firsthand by spending time with our growers!
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