Location:

Do California Wildfires Spell Disaster for your Favorite Wine?

Voiced by Amazon Polly

The California Wildfires Spell Disaster for your Favorite Wine?

The tragic wildfires in Northern California in early October 2017 left chaos in their wake. Entire towns, farms and forests engulfed in flames. As we still search the rubble to quantify the damage, many wine lovers want to know just how much was destroyed — and what that means for the industry.

Did the California Wildfires Destroy Wine Country?

Wine country has been thoroughly shaken by the tragedy in Northern California. Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties were hit hard by the recent wildfires, there is no doubt about that. Over two hundred thousand acres burned in these three counties alone.

50 mph winds spread the fires at breakneck speeds. Over 40 people lost their lives to the flames. Nearly eight thousand structures have been destroyed, and dozens of  wineries are reporting damage ranging from complete destruction to property loss. While Wine Country still stands strong, this was a huge hit.

Smoking concerns

With the fires contained and embering out, Northern California is faced with the real task of tallying up the true extent of the damage. Fire damage to the vines and cellars, as well as smoke taint in the grapes, barrels and bottles themselves. More than the damage to property, they must also face the lack of housing and labor to fix these problems. These were already issues before the fires. Now they are the greatest issue in many ways.

One thing to consider is that the vines themselves do not give much for the wildfires to eat. In many ways, they act like natural fire breaks. The vineyards in many places helped to prevent the fires from spreading to adjacent forests or meet up with other fires. The vast field is just too big a stretch for a raging fire to cross without fuel. And vines, bittersweet to say, do not make for good fuel.

From the Ashes

While the California wildfires this October were no doubt a disaster, it does not spell doom for the wine industry, or any industry for that matter. Initial reports of smoke taint looked grim, but many vineyards are now saying that the effect will be far less than initially reported. For those that remember, a similar fire broke out in 2008, though this was very early in the grape season. The effect on the grapes was extensive, as young grapes are still breathing more and took in a lot of smoke.

The 2017 vintage, on the other hand, is largely safe. As far as the harvest is concerned, the fires occurred late in the season. This is a blessing, as much of the harvest had already been taken in; tucked safely in the tanks before the fire ever hit. The grapes that were left may have been damaged, but the damage is very minimal compared to initial reports. So the 2017 vintage is not at a halt at all. The show must go on!

The issue now is to bounce back from this destruction. Banding together to rebuild; Wine Country will come out of this tragedy strong as ever. We at sommtable.com are with you every step of the way.

 

Dia de los Muertos: Food, Culture and Tradition story image

October 22 Uncategorized

Dia de los Muertos: Food, Culture and Tradition

Homes around the U.S. are being decorated with pumpkins, ghouls and witches in anticipation of Halloween, but in Mexico, the date coincides with the start of a more ancient tradition that has nothing to do with fright and much to do with culture, food and drinks.

Alejandro Campos, A Chocolate Connoisseur story image

October 15 Cacao

Alejandro Campos, A Chocolate Connoisseur

It’s the most delicious, rich, and savory treat, protects against heart disease and a number of other ailments, and it’s one of Latin American contributions to the U.S. and the world.

Bolivian Wine: from the Andes to your Table story image

September 29 Bolivian Wine

Bolivian Wine: from the Andes to your Table

Bolivia may not instantly come to mind when one thinks of wine, but the South American country has a long and rich viticulture history that dates back to the arrival of the Spanish missionaries, who first planted vines around the wealthy silver-mining city of Potosi in the mid-16th century.

The ‘Arabica’ Whisperer story image

September 25 Coffee Producers

The ‘Arabica’ Whisperer

The best part of waking up? Well, it’s coffee, of course.

Humanity truly runs on this beverage that helps millions of people around the world wake up, work and function. And if it’s of the Arabica variety, its delicious ‘kick’ will keep you going strong all day long.

New Orleans: a mix of cultures gives birth to great cocktails story image

September 25 cocktails

New Orleans: a mix of cultures gives birth to great cocktails

Indigenous people called the area where New Orleans now sits as “Balbancha” (land of many tongues).

It’s still an apt name for the Crescent City.

Anyone who’s visited this Southern gem is immediately struck by the confluence of cultures there.

Raise a toast to Latino Heritage Month story image

September 15 Latino Heritage Month

Raise a toast to Latino Heritage Month

The Empire State Building kicked off Latino Heritage Month by shining red, white and green colors onto the New York skylight on September 15 in honor of the Mexican flag.

Smart Labels Make Spirits Come Alive story image

August 25 Marketing

Smart Labels Make Spirits Come Alive

Smart appliances, smart clothing and now smart wines, ciders, and beers.

In a crowded shelf of wines, ciders and beers, all promoting how good they are, how can they stand out among the rest? In an increasingly connected world, the way to go is with the label, smart labels, that is.

PEOPLE ARE STRANGE: Jim Morrison story image

August 16 Music

PEOPLE ARE STRANGE: Jim Morrison

Jim was quoted in his poetic nature: “Being drunk is a good disguise.” He said. “It means I can talk to assholes.”

Beer, Wine and Whiskey Turn to Paper Bottle story image

August 15 Marketing

Beer, Wine and Whiskey Turn to Paper Bottle

Companies are looking for sustainable packaging

Spirits companies have always touted the flavor, sophistication and quality of their drinks. Now they’re promoting not only that, but also how sustainable they are.

Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 2) story image

May 31 Civil rights

Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 2)

It’s safe to say we would all agree Hennessy and Hip-Hop are associated with each other in a special way. We would even go as far to say, Hennessy has reached global iconic status thanks to that fact. That being said, while the cognac of hip-hop was catapulted to its iconic stature thanks to the help of artist like Tupac and Nas, what we don’t know by looking at the surface is that Hennessy has a long standing tradition of supporting people of African decent.

Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 1) story image

April 19 Cognac

Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 1)

It’s safe to say we would all agree Hennessy and Hip-Hop are associated with each other in a special way. We would even go as far to say, Hennessy has reached global iconic status thanks to that fact. That being said, while the cognac of hip-hop was catapulted to its iconic stature thanks to the help of artist like Tupac and Nas, what we don’t know by looking at the surface is that Hennessy has a long standing tradition of supporting people of African decent.

The First “Shot” Ever Served: A Tale of the West story image

July 15 shots

The First “Shot” Ever Served: A Tale of the West

It’s always a race against the heat in the West. Hell, there’s a score of difference races around here. There’s a race to the riches and a race to the hills where the riches lay. There’s a race to food and shelter and the means in which a man might make to get them. There’s a race to the women and to the brothels and saloons where you can find them at. I don’t look for my women in those places but I often find myself in them for other races. Mine is a race to whiskey. It’s only a matter of time before I find myself in one today.

Portugal, a Wine Lover’s Guide story image

May 26 Portuguese Wine

Portugal, a Wine Lover’s Guide

Portugal has a long history of wine making and an endless varietal of wine grapes with enough distinctive personalities to satisfy the most demanding oenophile. The different regions of this small nation that welcomes Western travelers as they head into continental Europe grow characteristically different grapes that produce singular wines, each uniquely suited to different palates.

x