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Jim Langman
October 26, 2020 | Jim Langman

At Least 28 Napa Wineries With Major Damage or Destroyed. Here's a list.

Fires in THE Valley!

Here's a partial list of major damage just in Napa Valley proper.

$2 Billion Dollars in Damage

What can/should be done?

Another year of raging fires across California in 2020, and there is still at least a month to go in our annual, "Fire Season".  I've written about the history and challenges and arguments over the causes and solutions to the problem from all points of view, but one fact is undeniable: California MUST perform a massive "Reduction in Hazardous Fuel" in their forests. There are 50+ years of dead trees and underbush on much of the public lands. (I know, I know, everyone can be mad at me from all sides, but live and/or be a property owner in California in the path of these fires and you will come to the same conclusion.) Good news is that California and the Federal Government have agreed to undertake a massive collective effort to start doing just that. This will be a multi-billion dollar, 5+ year effort, but it will thankfully start happening. Too many lives, homes and property have been lost.

Napa Valley is the best known wine region in the United States and generates an estimated $40+ billion annually to the national economy. It is some of the most expensive vineyard land on the planet. There were multiple fires in Napa and Sonoma in July and August and then the Glass Fire started September 27th and burned over 68,000 acres. 100's of home and businesses were destroyed. There were also at least 36 wineries heavily damaged or totally destroyed. (See a partial list below) 

There is some good news. There are still over 500 Napa Valley Wineries fully intact. They are still challenged greatly with COVID-19 business restrictions, but do not have to start from scratch. The larger concern for 2020 is that about 20% of Napa Valley wineries have decided to not use all or a portion of this year's grape harvest due to smoke taint. (Bitter taste in finished wine because of ash and soot laying on the grapes on the vines and infusing phenols and other chemicals into the grape skins.) A large number of other Napa Valley wineries will wait until about Febuary to assess the smoke taint damage in their 2020 post-fermentation wines. This could be a large problem for 2023 when this year's red wines would normally be released. 

The property damage in Napa Valley is estimated to be at least $350 million. At least $60 million of wine inventories were destroyed. About 1/3 of this year's grape harvest in Napa Valley is expected to be ultimately found unusable for wine production which will cost about $300 million, and the ultimate cost of lost wine sales will approach $1 billion over time. 

Support your faviorite winery!

And remember: Americans Never Give Up!

Most Importantly: Never forget our First Repsonders! They run toward the danger, so that we can run to safety.

Thanks so much, Jim Langman



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