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Dear Dr. Vinny,

How will the recent floods in Napa and Sonoma affect the health of the vineyards in the near future?

—Dr. Bob, Scarsdale, N.Y.

Dear Dr. Bob,

Rain at certain times of year can be bad news for vineyards. In the spring, they can damage or rot delicate blossoms that will turn into grapes. Later in the season, unwanted rain can split the berries, again causing concern for mold.

But it’s currently winter in the northern hemisphere, and that’s a good scenario for vineyards getting pelted with rain. After harvest, leaves fall off and the vines turn brown and become dormant until warm weather in spring causes budbreak. The vines are kind of hibernating during this period—at least above ground. Below ground, the vine is developing new root systems and filling up with water for the next growing season. So even if a vineyard gets a little flooded during winter, it’s not going to harm the vines.

—Dr. Vinny

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