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Napa and Sonoma fires could be devastating to California wine industry

By in Press Enterprise on October 12, 2017

By Paul Hodgins

The tragedy of lost lives and devastated neighborhoods has made the wildfires in Napa and Sonoma front page news across the country, and those sad stories will remain with us until the fires are contained, which could be days or even weeks from now. Once the smoke has cleared, another story will unfold: the damage to the region’s vital winemaking and tourism industries.

Many livelihoods depend on wine, from hotel workers to vineyard laborers, sales reps to sommeliers, and this year’s harvest could be a bust. Though consumers in Southern California and elsewhere probably won’t notice any immediate effects, the consequences of the fires could well be felt in prices, quality and availability two to four years from now, as the 2017 wines reach maturity and newly planted vines start producing fruit.

  • Damaged wine making vats and barrels from a wildfire stand in the ruins at the production house of Paradise Ridge Winery on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, Calif. Workers in Northern California’s renowned wine country picked through charred debris and weighed what to do with pricey grapes after wildfires swept through lush vineyards and destroyed several wineries and damaged many others. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • The remains of the Signorello Estate winery continue to smolder Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Worried California vintners surveyed the damage to their vineyards and wineries Tuesday after wildfires swept through several counties whose famous names have become synonymous with fine food and drink. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    The remains of the Signorello Estate winery continue to smolder Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Worried California vintners surveyed the damage to their vineyards and wineries Tuesday after wildfires swept through several counties whose famous names have become synonymous with fine food and drink. […]    

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