125: Using Grape Grower Demographics to Influence Climate Change Adaptation

There are numerous tools and technologies to improve irrigation efficiency but by looking at grower demographics, we can better predict which growers will implement best management practices. Plus, we can learn how to educate all growers to improve adoption.

Nicholas Babin, Assistant Professor of Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences at California Polytechnic State University, conducted a two-year study to assess Paso Robles California AVA grape growers’ thoughts around climate change adaptation, irrigation efficiency, practice adoption, and SGMA.

SGMA, or Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, is a California state policy aiming to bring over-drafted groundwater basins into sustainability in 20 to 30 years. Agencies are established in sub-basins like Paso Robles to establish groundwater management strategies for their region. After discovering that the adoption of water management strategies like soil and plant tissue monitoring devices, distribution uniformity tests, and flow meters, was lower for smaller vineyards under 40 acres, Nicholas and his team looked at other demographics to determine which factors most influence the adoption of best management practices. By evaluating growers’ income, rainfall, education, vineyard size, and other influences, the research found that the most important factor in predicting the adoption of water efficiency management practices is participation in the SIP Certified program for sustainable winegrowing.

Nicholas also covers the Cal-Adapt tool to predict the impact of climate change on specific vineyards and gives a sneak peek at his latest research on the efficacy of carbon farming programs.


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