If drought is a recurring feature of the weather, then the wine growers become experts in handling it. This is the case, for example, in South Africa. Here they have learned how to optimize irrigation so that the vines get exactly what they need and not one drop more. Heinrich Schloms is a soil scientist at the South African organization VinPro and he shared his experience during the Climate Change Leadership conference in Portugal in early March.
His main advice to his European colleagues, who are increasingly experiencing periods of severe drought, was to water less: Make sure the vines’ roots develop from the beginning. The longer they are the less irrigation is needed. Wait as long as possible to start watering. To begin early benefits the superficial roots. Never give too much water. The vine is naturally resistant to a little bit of drought and does not need much water.
We can add that the old myth that irrigation is forbidden in Europe is just that, a myth. You can also irrigate in Europe, but under strict rules and there may be local regulations that do not allow it.