Seminar explores ‘bitter reality’ of water rules for grape growers

Event to also offer something sweet: A presentation on how to test the fruit’s sugar content

rrailey@thetribunenews.comAugust 2, 2012 

New requirements from the Regional Water Quality Control Board are drawing intense interest from grape farmers.

On Thursday from 2 to 4:30 p.m., a seminar offered by the Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area will discuss the new rules and help growers prepare required plans.

“The deadline for having the farm plan in place is Oct. 1. It’s coming up quickly,” said Lowell Zelinski, owner of Precision Ag Consulting in Paso Robles. “The regional board has identified ground-water pollution as a big issue.”

Zelinski is one of two featured speakers at the seminar titled, “The Bitter and The Sweet.”

After he addresses the “bitter reality” of water policy, winemaker Signe Zoller will demonstrate tests used to monitor sugars and other signs of ripening in grapes before harvest.

Slated for Castoro Cellars, 1315 N. Bethel Road in Templeton, the event has already drawn 50 reservations, Zelinski said. That’s more than double the reservations the growers group usually has a week before such educational workshops.

The $20 seminar is free for members.

To reserve a seat, call 434-3331 or email

Event to support scholarships

The Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area is planning a social event for Aug. 18 in San Miguel.

The event, scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., includes dinner and scholarship awards. The new scholarship program is intended to help the Paso Robles region by supporting aspiring winemakers and growers, board president Tom Hinkle said.

Two graduates from local high schools planning to study viticulture at Cal Poly will each receive $3,000.

The event will be at the Heaven Can Wait Equine Sanctuary at 6275 Cerros Pineros Way.

The general public pays $10 per person. Association members attend free and can bring guests at a discount.

For reservations, call Elizabeth Torp at 226-8293 or RSVP online at www.pasorobleswine

$826,415 raised for area nonprofits

The Central Coast Wine Classic raised $826,415 this year through its live and silent auctions. The funds will be granted to about a dozen nonprofits in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties in the healing, performing or studio arts.

The four-day event drew attendees to Avila Beach and other coastal locations in mid-July from about 200 communities in California. In addition, 25 states and several foreign countries were represented.

The following nonprofits will receive grants in October: Access for All, Amazing Surf Adventures and One Cool Earth in San Luis Obispo; Atascadero High School Band and Pageantry Boosters; Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation; SLO Grown Kids in Los Osos; Children’s Resource Network of the Central Coast in Pismo Beach; Conflict Solutions Center Community Mediation in Santa Maria; and Jodi House, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Symphony and Storyteller Children’s Center in Santa Barbara.

Raven J. Railey’s Wine Notes column is special to The Tribune.

Have a suggestion for Wine Notes? Email or call 441-4556.

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