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Endless storms hitting Bay Area provides silver lining for local wine makers

Endless storms hitting Bay Area provides silver lining for local wine makers
Endless storms hitting Bay Area provides silver lining for local wine makers 01:55

LIVERMORE -- As the Bay Area sees the last round of rain for the next week or so, winemakers in Livermore say these recent rains are helping their grapevines to the point where they could break production records.

"This is another Petit Verdot vine here," says Larry Dino as he walks through his vines. Dino is the owner and winemaker of Cuda Ridge Wines in Livermore. He named his 15-year-old midsized winery after one of his prized possessions: his classic Barracuda muscle car.

Cuda Ridge wine barrels
Cuda Ridge wine barrels. CBS

"Petit Verdot is the fifth red varietal of Bordeaux, France. We're well known for doing Petit Verdot here at Cuda Ridge Wines," he explained.

Wine has always been Larry's passion. He started making it at home with grapes he bought from vineyards in the Livermore Valley. But as that passion grew, so did his business, eventually expanding into a full-blown winery and tasting room.

"It's farming, so every year is different, right?" he said with a laugh.

The last few years have been challenging for the more than 40 wineries in the Livermore Valley. The drought has severely impacted the soil.

"There hasn't been a lot of rain, and salts are starting to accumulate into the soils. And what it's been doing is really stunting the growth," noted Dino. He says his vines are not thriving, and he's even lost a handful because of the poor soil quality.

Across the Livermore Valley, vineyard production has been down anywhere from 10-20% on irrigated vineyards because of the drought, and even more on dry vines. That's why the recent storms are so beneficial.

"We really need the heavy rains to really clean out these soils to get the salts pushed through the soils," said Larry. He said while salts are being pushed out, fertilizer and other nutrients are being pushed in.

"The water is starting to accumulate in the vines. So once the rain stops, and our temperatures come up and we get to bud break, these things are going to be ready to burst and really be vibrant," Dino said. 

It could be the perfect recipe for a bumper yield this growing season.

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