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August, 2022

drip irrigation


California’s winegrowers view responsible water use as more than a priority. It’s a bedrock principle. Using state-of-the-art technology, growers and vintners are reducing water use to levels prior generations would have never thought possible. Drip irrigation applies water exactly when and where it’s needed. Computerized weather stations inform those decisions, and soil moisture probes provide more real-time information. New technology allows growers to irrigate not just individual blocks but individual vines.

All of these conservation efforts not only dramatically save water; they also improve the wine. That’s a win for consumers, a win for vintners, and a win for the planet. 

The Pour

You’ve probably noticed that rosé sales are booming. At long last! Consumers are finally taking this style of wine seriously and recognizing that it’s so often just the right pour especially with salads, summer meals and the plant-forward cooking that’s trending now. California wineries make delicious rosés with just about every red wine-grape variety, from Barbera to Zinfandel. A retailer can steer you to a style that suits you, depending on whether you like a steely rosé or a softer one. Riesling is another great choice for summer salads with fruit. This aromatic, high-acid variety thrives in the state’s cooler growing regions, like Anderson Valley, Mendocino and Monterey 

The Recipe

Little Gem Salad with Red Grapes, Blue Cheese and Walnuts

Little Gem lettuces are a romaine relative, but they are smaller, more tender and sweeter for your salad. If you can’t find Little Gems, hearts of butter lettuce or Bibb lettuce make a good alternative. Add juicy grapes, crunchy walnuts and tangy blue cheese for a meal you’re sure to put on repeat.  

Wine suggestion: California rosé or California Riesling

little gem salad recipe



  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, plus more if needed 
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced 
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • ½ pound (225 g) Little Gem lettuces or hearts of butter lettuce 
  • ¾ cup (125 g) halved seedless red or black grapes 
  • ½ cup (60 g) chopped toasted walnuts 
  • 2 ounces (about ½ cup/60 g) coarsely crumbled blue cheese 

Serves 3 to 4 


Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and shallot. Whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Put the lettuces in a salad bowl, tearing them into bite-size pieces or leaving whole if you prefer. Add the grapes, walnuts and blue cheese. Add enough vinaigrette to coat the leaves lightly — you may not need it all — and toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more vinegar or salt if needed. Serve immediately. 

Wine Institute is an association of California wineries and affiliated businesses from the beautiful and diverse wine regions throughout the state. Wine Institute works to create an environment where the wine community can flourish and contribute in a positive fashion to our nation, state and local communities. For information please contact