Napa Valley wine appears to have been spared the worst of fire damage in Northern California, according to the Napa Valley Vintners.
Some 13 large wildfires have burned across the state of California over the past 10 days, torching 210,000 acres and leaving 42 dead, according to California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The Napa Valley Vintners have heard from 330 of its member wineries. Of those, 47 sustained direct damage and only a handful experienced significant property loss. Vintners are optimistic about the quality of this year’s vintage, although the quantity is expected to be less than usual, the group said.
“No matter the circumstances, Napa Valley’s winemakers remain committed to upholding the renowned region’s reputation for making some of the world’s finest wines,” the association said in a press release Wednesday.
Napa Valley wine accounts for only 4 percent of all wine made in California, the group said, so there will be virtually no effect on the amount of wine the state as a whole produces.
The group estimates about 90 percent of grapes had been picked before the fires started, and most of those left on vines were thick-skinned Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemakers are inspecting grapes that were picked after the fires started and lab testing wines made from them to ensure they did not sustain any smoke damage, the association said.
It is still too soon to determine the economic impact of the fires, the group said. However, one way the fires have hurt the industry is by forcing wineries to close during what the association said is one of the busiest times of the year.
Wineries have started to reopen, although some remain closed.
Winemaking may be the local economy’s biggest driver, but the fires are a human tragedy with lives lost and personal property destroyed, Michael Honig, chair of the Napa Valley Vintners board of directors and president of Honig Vineyard & Winery, said in a statement.
“While we are eager to ‘get back to normal,'” he said, “we also have to keep the proper perspective.”