British Columbia·Video

Juicy grapes from less water is B.C. team's goal

An university reseach team in B.C.'a arid Okanagan region is trying to develop a strain of wine grapes that will grow as juicy but require less water.

Okanagan region rich in great wines but relatively poor in water supply

A Kelowna, B.C., professor is hoping to develop wine grapes that require less water 2:05

A research team in B.C.’s arid Okanagan region is trying to develop grapes that can can grow with less water but still produce great wines.

The grape root stalks that grow in B.C.’s southern Interior are not native to the area but were developed in Europe and need a lot of water to thrive — a rare commodity in an area with less than 300 millimetres of rain per year.

(Vancouver gets nearly 1,300 millimeters.)

Professor Susan Murch, a chemist at the University of B.C.’s Okanagan campus, is leading a research team literally getting to the root of the problem.

"The better we can make efficiency of the uptake of water from the sand, the better we can make it from a management perspective and the better we can make the grapes grow," Murch said.

CBC News reporter Leia Hutchings has more.