Water-limiting conditions in many California vineyards necessitate assessment of vine water stress to aid irrigation management strategies and decisions. This study was designed to evaluate the utility of a Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI) using multiple canopy temperature sensors and to study the diurnal signature in the stress index of an irrigated vineyard. A detailed instrumentation package comprised of eddy covariance instrumentation, ancillary surface energy balance components, soil water content sensors and a unique multi-canopy temperature sensor array were deployed in a production vineyard near Lodi, CA. The instrument package was designed to measure and monitor hourly growing season turbulent fluxes of heat and water vapor, radiation, air temperature, soil water content directly beneath a vine canopy, and vine canopy temperatures. April 30–May 02, June 10–12 and July 27–28, 2016 were selected for analysis as these periods represented key vine growth and production phases. Considerable variation in computed CWSI was observed between each of the hourly average individual canopy temperature sensors throughout the study; however, the diurnal trends remained similar: highest CWSI values in morning and lowest in the late afternoon. While meteorological conditions were favorable for plant stress to develop, soil water content near field capacity due to frequent irrigation allowed high evapotranspiration rates resulting in downward trending CWSI values during peak evaporative demand. While the CWSI is typically used to evaluate plant stress under the conditions of our study, the trend of the CWSI suggested a lowering of plant water stress as long as there was adequate soil water available to meet atmospheric demand.