Wine industry water use a topic at this month’s Sonoma County virtual town hall on drought

The virtual meeting is the sixth in a series.|

Water use in the wine industry will be among the topics of Sonoma County’s monthly virtual town hall on the drought, scheduled Thursday at 4 p.m.

The recorded meeting, the sixth in a series, will include a discussion of efforts to make the wine industry more sustainable, as well as programs for private well owners whose wells have run dry or are at risk of doing so.

In addition, Brian Garcia, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, will present the latest long-range weather and wildfire outlook for the region.

Other featured speakers include Brad Petersen, vineyard manager at Silver Oak Winery, and Jeremy Peirsol, rural development specialist at the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.

Launched earlier this year, the town halls are an effort to educate and update the community about the region’s ongoing drought, now in its third year and potentially heading into a fourth.

The first eight months of 2022 have been the driest in Sonoma County in 128 years according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with rainfall nearly 20 inches below normal. Indications so far also have suggested that early winter likely will be dry as well.

Lake Mendocino, one of two key regional reservoirs in the Russian River watershed, is at about 46% of its storage capacity, though closer to 63% of a seasonal target supply curve. Lake Sonoma is storing 44% of its capacity.

Thursday’s 4 p.m. session will be hosted by Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin.

It will be streamed on Zoom and on the County of Sonoma Facebook page. A recording also will be available on Facebook afterward.

A Spanish translation version will be streamed on the County of Sonoma YouTube channel.

Register in advance to pose questions live on Zoom or email questions to

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

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