The massive fires that struck at the the heart of both the Napa and Sonoma regions will confront the wine industry with many challenges in the year to come.
Wind-whipped fires sweeping across California killed 10 people , with seven dead in Sonoma County, two in Napa, and another in Mendocino County to the north. That makes the day one of the deadliest in the state’s wildfire history.
Officials closed hundreds of wineries, and a handful of them were burned to the ground, such Paradise Ridge in Santa Rosa, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Some historic properties were lost, too. White Rock Vineyards, first established in 1870, was completely destroyed (again according to the Chronicle) and some other old vineyards dating back to the 19th century have been damaged.
Atlas Peak and its surrounding areas in south-eastern Napa Valley were particularly hard hit. The Signorello Estate, on Silverado Trail, was completely destroyed; buildings at nearby Stag’s Leap winery burned too.
On Monday evening, roads to Atlas Peak remained closed, and many vineyard owners still had no idea of the extent of the damage to their properties.
In Napa and Sonoma, autumn is the busiest time of year, and many tourists visit wineries during the harvest.
But the most disturbing factor is the long-term effect of major fires, and concerns smoke taint and the destruction of vines that could cause a severe shortage of grapes for years to come. Additionally, most Napa and Sonoma wineries hold at least two or three vintages of wine in barrel, not to mention the large inventories of bottles that many wineries hold back for years.