The awful scenes of fire devastation in California’s prime wine-making areas of Napa and Sonoma have featured in trade and mainstream press over the past couple of days. The full impact of the devastation, wreaked by fires fuelled with strong winds, is not yet known, but at least 17 people have been killed so far.
Various news sources report on the “unprecedented” scale of the fires, with about 115,000 acres of land affected, 2,000 structures burned and about 20,000 people evacuated.
California has suffered years of drought followed by a very wet 2016 – 17 winter season, resulting in much thicker vegetation, which has fueled the seasonal Autumn fires to catastrophic levels.
The impact on the US’ most important wine growing region has been significant but the full impact is yet to be calculated. Napa Valley Vintners released a statement today saying that four of their members have “suffered total or very significant losses” but are waiting to hear the accounts from the most vulnerable areas of the Silverado Trail, in Calistoga and in the Mt. Veeder/Partrick Road/Henry Road areas.
The 2017 harvest was nearly completed but vines and vineyard buildings storing this year’s crop have been burned and smoke damage across the region is significant. Sadly there will be an impact on the 2017 vintage, as said the full impact of which is yet to be understood.