California’s Wine Country Reacts to Deadly Wildfires

Two of the state's most prominent wine-producing groups are working to assist their members and assess the damage that recent wildfires have had on both a popular crop and tourist region.

California’s recent spate of wildfires have put its famed wine country squarely in the middle, causing damage to one of the state’s most valuable crops and the tourist hub it represents.

Napa Valley Vintners and Sonoma County Winegrowers, which represent winemakers in Napa and Sonoma counties, respectively, say they’re keeping a close watch on the fires, which have damaged 100,000 acres of land statewide and killed 15 people, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In a statement on its website, Napa Valley Vintners noted that its offices weren’t operational because of power outages caused by the blazes, while offering resources to its members.

“Our thoughts and concerns remain with all NVV members and our neighbors in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, and Mendocino counties affected by today’s wildfires,” the group stated. “We are especially saddened to know that some winery employees have lost their homes, that many are still evacuated, and that some members’ wineries have been destroyed or damaged.”

Speaking to the Times, Sonoma County Winegrowers President Karissa Kruse noted that the damage was significant in the region and that she probably lost her own home in the wildfire. “We’re just trying to get our arms around making sure everybody is safe,” she said.

She did note that, at least cropwise, the damage to the harvest was likely to be somewhat minimal because it is late in the season.

“Our grapes are about 90 percent harvested in Sonoma County,” Kruse told the newspaper. “I think Napa is probably a little behind us, just given how much cabernet fruit they have and the ripening time for cabernet.”

The two regions and their surrounding areas represent just 12 percent of the grapes grown in California, according to The Associated Press, but the grapes are particularly valuable and are used to create the finest wines.

(Toa55/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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