By Donn Rutkoff
October 12, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - On a lovely Sunday afternoon in Sept., the Mt. Helix Wine Growers Association held their 3rd annual "Meet and Greet", otherwise known as a potluck and wine sharing. About 30 growers came together to share news and ideas. A few really good locally made wines were brought, one in particular was from Kristi (Anderson) and Suzie, a newly bottled Syrah. Based on what your reporter tasted, the future continues to look very tasty for locally grown wines.
The biggest concerns were drought, bees, and birds. The answers were mixed, however. As for drought, prayer and building dams were cited as the best ideas. Bees can be controlled a bit by offering them an alternative source of food. Birds are pesky eaters, netting is still the only way to deal with them. Larger farmers use noise makers, that mimic the sounds of bird predators. Scarecrow type answers such as hanging your old compact discs, pot and pan lids, or other noisemakers that swing in the wind. And dogs or cats can help keep pests away.
The drought is still the biggest risk statewide. News reports continue of crop losses. There is a bond measure on the ballot that might help, but the water issue always pits different groups of users against each other.