Robots may save California`s wine industry from the drought

We interrupt your regularly scheduled series of depressing, California drought-stricken agriculture news to finally bring you some good news:

Your favorite California pinots, zins, rosés, and even that box of Franzia chardonnay that you have a nostalgic soft spot for may have all just been spared from the terrorizing wrath of the state’s scorched earth.

You can thank the efforts of UC Davis’ Departments of Viticulture and Enology and its Department of Mechanical Engineering for this one. They are now developing cutting-edge winemaking technologies like irrigation sensors and robots that can reduce the amount of water needed to make one gallon of precious wine. That’s about a 90 percent improvement, by the way.

While the amount of water needed to make your favorite chilled glass of whatever may not be the first thing that you ponder while sharing a bottle with friends on a Friday evening, the reality is that it takes anywhere from four to six gallons of water to produce just one gallon of wine. After all, you have to also take into account the water used for washing the grapes and equipment—not just the water used to grow grapes. Contrary to popular beliefs, wine grapes are actually drought-tolerant.

The best part of all of this? These technologies may be available as soon as next year.