Which weather is the new normal?


Long used to depending on the weather, grape growers in California are largely scratching their heads these days, as long-standing patterns have disappeared in favour of a climate that seems to range from volatile to dangerous. 

The 2017–2018 growing season will be marked forever by the disastrous and deadly fires that swept through the unseasonably dry Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties, only to be followed by devastating mudslides in January when a rapidly delivered four inches (100 mm) of rain destroyed a swathe of the already-fire-scarred community of Montecito, Santa Barbara, claiming 21 lives. 

We Californians collectively held our...