Relying on Mother Nature is precarious at best and when you grow crops, such as grapes, you will forever be at her mercy. Soil, rain, heat, cold, pests, the list goes on and yet so many farmers have thrived for years…until recently when fires raged through wine country and left death and destruction in their wake.
According to the Wine Institute, a public policy advocacy group for California wineries, the state’s 4,700 wineries produce 85 percent of the U.S. wine and 97 percent of the U.S. wine exports. Barrel aged wines stored on premise are gone as are the bottles the wineries had on hand.
The impact of the California wildfires has yet to be determined. According to the Napa Valley Vintners, “the majority of Napa Valley’s grapes were picked before the fires started.” Questions remain, how will this affect not just the 2017 vintage but without vineyards and facilities to produce, how will it affect the future vintages?
Some vineyards in Napa take pride in their vines coming over centuries ago from their homelands of Italy, France, Spain, those vines are now destroyed and even if rebuilding began today, it can take three to five years for the vines to bear fruit.
Business aside, the impact is devastating for those who live, work and depend upon the industry for their source of income. Work is ash, homes are ash, and all belongings are gone. Some cannot even find their homes; nothing remains. As of Tuesday, 68 people were still unaccounted for in Sonoma County and 42 people are confirmed dead.