Monty's Book Of Why: Why Are Raisin Vines Planted East-To-West

The Central Valley produces more raisins than any place else on the planet. Ever wonder why?

KMPH viewer Michelle Phillips did and asked: "Why are grapes vines grown for raisins always planted in east-to-west rows?

Believe it or not, it's not just so they'll get more sun to grow faster.

"Specifically, grape vines for raisin-type grapes, it's more for the drying process," says Steven Spate, a Fresno County raisin grower and representative for the Raisin Bargaining Association.

"The vines are just as productive on north-south directional rows, but it's the drying season. If you have the same rows planted north and south it will take me an extra seven days to dry the raisins which exposes me a whole week longer to inclement weather.

The seven days, you can beat the rain. You can have your crops protected a lot quicker in an east-west exposure field than north-south.

That, Spate says, boils down to cost savings.

In fact, he says, that extra week can make or break a raisin farmer.

So now you know.

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