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After a dry start to the new year, the floodgates finally opened at our estate Margarita Vineyard last week.
Indeed, a series of storms rumbled through the Central Coast this month, capped by a three-day period during which we recorded more than three inches of rain at Santa Margarita Ranch.
The bright greening of the hills is a welcome sight after drought conditions persisted in January and February.
"There are no detrimental effects from heavy rain this time of year," says Winemaker Stewart Cameron. "It's all upside. It's putting a lot of moisture in the soil that will carry well into the growing season."
This was also another instance of our ranch being a “rain magnet.” Indeed, there are spots on the ranch that average more than 30 inches of rain annually—far more than nearby San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles.
This is a phenomenon related to the surrounding mountain peaks for which our winery is named. As moisture-laden air blows in from the ocean and travels upward along these mountain slopes, it cools and condenses, forming clouds and generating elevated precipitation.
The added soil moisture from the rain allows our vines to thrive through a long growing season, which in turn allows us to produce wines with ripeness, structure and balance.
While we are still below historic rainfall averages this year, this wet March made a big difference and will help stave off the return of drought conditions.