Vintners finding sweet solace in California drought

napa-VINEYARDThe drought is beginning to take a heavy toll on California’s agriculture industry – but one group of growers is grateful for a silver lining.

The Wall Street Journal reports the drought will help make some of the best wine that Napa and Sonoma counties have produced for some time.NAPAGRAPESVintners say the dry weather has led to smaller and tastier grapes. It’s also triggered earlier harvests, which has helped avoid the problem of autumn rains interrupting picking season. And the drought has meant fewer grapes lost to mold and mildew.

If the drought persists, it could lead to water shortages, damaged soil and fallowed fields – all problems that other California farmers are already facing. But right now, grape growers and wine industry experts say the 2014 vintage could be one for the ages. Grape producers hope that translates into more sales. Last year, California wine sales increased five percent, netting a record $23.1 billion.