Nov 15, 2017

10 Napa Valley wineries assess long-term effects of wildfires as recovery begins

Santa Rosa, CA
USA
by
Los Angeles Times via Associated Press
Smoke rises near a vineyard as a wildfire burns in the hills north east of Napa in October. Photo: Michael Short / Associated Press
Smoke rises near a vineyard as a wildfire burns in the hills north east of Napa in October. Photo: Michael Short / Associated Press

A month after deadly wildfires swept through California’s famed wine country, hot-air balloons are floating again over Napa Valley vineyards splashed with fall colors. On the heels of the disaster, a new winery is opening, keeping the name it chose some time ago: Ashes and Diamonds.

The fires had only a minimal effect on the area’s wineries, according to the Wine Institute, an advocacy and policy group. Of the 1,200 wineries in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino, about 10 were destroyed or heavily damaged, and 90% of this year’s harvest already was complete, the institute said.

Most vineyards were spared due to their high moisture content, and some even helped save surrounding structures by acting as fire breaks.

But many operators are now grappling with other long-term effects from the fires that killed 43 people and wiped out 8,900 buildings: making up for losses from being closed at the busiest time of year, assessing the impact of smoke and other environmental damage on this year’s vintage, and persuading tourists to return after weeks of news coverage of the fires’ devastation.