Water and Wine


California’s Wine Country is home to world class wines, famous landscapes, and some of the most iconic salmon and steelhead runs on the West Coast.

Water links them all.

Native coho salmon (endangered) and steelhead (threatened) populations in this region have been severely diminished over the last half-century, hard hit by diversions, habitat loss, and drought. Trout Unlimited is committed to reversing this trend. One of TU's primary tools for accomplishing on-the-ground protection and restoration of cold water habitat on California coastal streams is partnerships.

TU is building and expanding partnerships with grape growers in Wine Country to improve dry season streamflow for salmon and steelhead and improve water supply reliability for growers and vintners. We call this project Water and Wine.

Water and Wine, part of our larger Coastal Streamflows Restoration Project, is dedicated to developing small-scale solutions for water supply management that help keep water in streams when salmon and steelhead most need it.


Water Supply Solutions.  Developing physical projects and water management solutions -- through off-stream storage ponds, better timing of diversions, and improvements in irrigation efficiency -- to improve water supply reliability and reduce water withdrawals during times when salmon and steelhead need water the most. 
Stream Restoration.  Removing fish passage barriers, planting streamside vegetation, and restoring stream channels.

Public Awareness.  Vote with Your Fork: Winemakers understand the link between good resource stewardship and good business better than anyone. TU is working with industry leaders to reach out to consumers about the benefits of good salmon and good wine. We want to create incentives for more grape growers to engage in sustainable land and water stewardship, and to generate more public support for wild salmon and steelhead conservation.  See www.whywild.org.



Waters to Watch: Our work with our partners in Grape Creek (Sonoma Co.) was recently recognized by the National Fish Habitat Partnership as one of the ten national Waters to Watch, “a collection of rivers, streams and shores that will be cleaner and healthier habitats for the many fish and wildlife species and people who call these areas home.”






Steelhead Vineyards: Steelhead Vineyards (Sonoma, CA) and TU have partnered for over a decade to improve habitats for salmon and steelhead. “Better Wine. Better World” is Steelhead’s guiding principle and they are a key supporter of Water & Wine, donating a portion of their proceeds to this important program. See www.steelheadvineyards.com.





Fans for Fish: Martorana Family Winery has demonstrated its commitment to land and water stewardship and its enthusiasm for protecting and restoring high-quality habitat for salmon. Located in the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, the Martorana Family practices organic farming and has undertaken a whole suite of restoration projects. Most recently, the vineyard made a dramatic change in its water management for frost protection by installing a frost fan. The project serves as a model for sustainable water use and will benefit endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout in the Russian River watershed.



Water and Wine: Partners in Wine Country Stewardship

Trout Magazine, Water, Wine, Fish & People: In California They Go Well Together


Staff Contact

Mary Ann King

Director, Coastal Streamflows Restoration Project


Author of this Page

Sam Davidson

Communications Director, California and Nevada



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Coho Salmon

Coho Salmon

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