In arid and semiarid areas, wine grapes are frequently managed using regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) to control vegetative growth. To understand the distribution of soil moisture using RDI in a drip-irrigated vineyard, we collected soil samples after several irrigation events around six drip emitters in two ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ and two ‘Merlot’ vineyards from late July through Mar. 2002 and 2005. The March sampling depicts soil moisture status before budbreak after winter precipitation. Soil samples were collected in four depth increments at 16 locations in a half-circle radius from immediately below the emitter to a depth of 60 cm. Both gravimetric and volumetric soil moisture content were determined. Soil moisture varied by depth, distance from the emitter, and sampling time. During late-season irrigation events, 50% to 75% of the sampled area contained plant-available water, which was less than expected. When calculated as plant-available soil moisture, regardless of time of sampling, soil sampled across a 0- to 45-cm depth provided the most representative indication of soil moisture status. Additionally, sampling directly under the emitter or directly under the drip line could result in skewed measurements compared with the sampled area. The data suggest that collecting soil samples within a 20- to 40-cm radius, either diagonal or perpendicular to the drip line emitter position, will best reflect the amount of plant-available soil water. Additionally, monitoring should be conducted on both sides of the row around each emitter selected and then averaged to avoid any patterns from hilling or disruption in water flow patterns. (We recommend that you consult the full text of this article. Original title …)