Jess Jackson wriggled into his half-wetsuit, threw on an air tank, regulator, and mask, and plunged into the vineyard’s dark reservoir. The icy water burned his exposed arms and legs. He could see nothing under the surface; dawn was still hours away. He’d have to feel along the slimy bottom of the pond until he found the weeds and algae clogging the irrigation pumps, then rip them loose so that the reservoir waters could once again flow to the vines.
His big hands reduced to clumsy clubs by the cold, he tried not to panic as he felt around with numbed fingers. He knew time was not on his side. The banks of drippers and sprayers in the fields could protect the grapes from fatal frost. Liquid water soon froze once sprayed on ...