How The NorCal Wildfires Will Affect The Wine Industry

As several wildfires continue to burn out of control across Northern California’s famed wine region, Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.

The wind-driven fires have killed at least 15 people and burned down 2,000 structures including several wineries – the economic backbone of the region.

Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa has burned down, as has Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma and Frey Vineyards in Mendocino County. Signorello Estates and William Hill Estate Winery also appear to have been lost.

The affects of these losses will have a major impact on the wine industry for years to come. Vineyards that have been completely destroyed will have to replant, which will take three to five years for the vines to mature. At wineries with vineyards not devastated by the fires, the smoke blanketing the area could taint the grapes, mostly cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

The fires struck during harvest season, and thousands of barrels of inventory have likely been destroyed.

According to another crop also affected by the fires is the marijuana. There are an estimated 3,000 legal growers in Sonoma County alone. Tens of millions of dollars worth of product from local cannabis growers is being threatened at the peak of harvest season.

More from Marilyn Nelson

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