The Wine Institute issues statement about California wildfires

The Californian Wine Institute has confirmed that lives have been lost due to the wildfires in California’s North Coast wine region.

In a statement the group said the fires had also led to evacuations and the loss of buildings and homes in the counties of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino.

It added: “We have been in touch with the winery organisations in regions impacted by the fires to offer assistance. Right now, they are focused on ensuring the safety of their communities, offering assistance and gathering information. Assessments of vineyards and wineries cannot be made until the fires are contained.

“Our thoughts go out to those who have been impacted by the fires. We are very grateful for the firefighters and first responders who are working tirelessly to help people and bring the fires under control.

“It is too early to know what impact the fires may have on the 2017 harvest or wines from the vintage. The majority of the grapes in these areas, and statewide, were harvested earlier in the season.”

Further updates from the wine region:

Preliminary reports indicate at least four wineries in Napa Valley have suffered total or very significant losses due to the fire while at least nine others have reported damage to their winery or properties. The majority of Napa Valley wineries were closed yesterday. Although it is harvest season in Napa Valley it is estimated that 90% of the grapes were picked before the fires started on Sunday night. Of the grapes remaining on vine it is almost all Cabernet Sauvignon; winemakers have reported that this thick-skinned variety is not expected to be impacted by the smoke from the fires. Power outages have also created challenges for the wineries, although most have emergency generators. 

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