Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Update Wednesday 10.30am: Wildfires in California

Published:  11 October, 2017

At least four physical wineries belonging to Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) members have been confirmed as having suffered total or very significant losses due to the wildfires in northern California.

In its latest statement released this morning, the trade body said it had yet to hear from some of its members, but could confirm at least nine other estates had reported damage to their winery, outbuildings or surrounding vineyards.

Having reached out to all its members requesting a status report about the condition of their business and operating status, NVV said it had heard from more than a 100 but were yet to hear from some in the most vulnerable areas of the valley, including along the Silverado Trail, in Calistoga and in the Mt. Veeder/Partrick Road/Henry Road areas.

In addition, NVV said there were still other wineries that had not yet been able to access their properties leaving their condition unknown. 

NVV estimated 90% of the grapes had been picked before the fires started on Sunday night.

While it was too soon to tell how the fires and related challenges would impact this year’s vintage overall, NVV said the grapes remaining on the vine were almost all the thick-skinned Cabernet Sauvignon variety (fully-developed and ready to be picked for the 2017 harvest), and as such were not expected to be impacted by the smoke from the fires.

At the time of the release (October 10 at 11.30am Californian time), several fires continued to burn in and around the Napa Valley, primarily in the surrounding hillsides.  

Power outages and the inability of employees to report to work had also created challenges for wineries, especially for tasting rooms, said NVV, however most wineries had emergency generators, which had helped maintain production capabilities, it added. 

Update Tuesday 9am: Wildfires in California

Lisa Riley

The majority of Napa Valley wineries were closed yesterday because of power outages, evacuation orders and employees being unable to get to work due to the wildfires that have ravaged northern California from the early hour of Monday, according to the Napa Valley Vintners.

In terms of assessments of vineyards and wineries, these could not be carried out until the fires were contained, said the non-profit trade association, adding it was too early to know what impact the fires may have had on the 2017 harvest or wines from the vintage.

“We are assessing information on how the fires might affect the 2017 harvest and the wine industry specifically, but it will be some time before we have any specific information along these lines,” said communications director, Patsy McGaughty.

Most of the grapes in the affected areas, however, had been harvested earlier in the season, she confirmed.

“As of now, we do not have any verifiable information regarding vineyard acreage or winery buildings burned,” she said, adding that right now, all the wineries in regions impacted were focused on ensuring the safety of their communities, offering assistance and gathering information.

The Wine Institute of California yesterday confirmed Signorelli, Darioush and Stag’s Leap were “major casualties” of the deadly wildfires in northern California, which has cost at least 11 lives so far.

Both Darioush and Stag’s Leap had suffered “significant damage” – with both having lost some buildings, while Signorelli was confirmed as one of “several wineries” to have been completely destroyed during the fires, which have spread across prime wine-producing areas in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba since Sunday night.

Treasury Wine Estate, which owns Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Stags’ Leap and Sterling vineyards, yesterday said there had been “limited damage” to its infrastructures and sites, and that the majority of its vineyards and wineries were not presently in the “direct fire zones”.

Wineries & tasting rooms closed in Napa Valley as result of the fires:

B Cellars  


Burgess Cellars  

BV (Beaulieu Vineyard)  

Cakebread Cellars  

Castello di Amorosa  

Chateau Montelena 

Cliff Lede Vineyards  

Durant & Booth  

Elizabeth Spencer  


Flora Springs Winery  

Hess Collection  

Joseph Phelps Vineyards  

Judd's Hill  

Materra, Cunat Family Winery  


Stags' Leap  



10 October, 2017

Lisa Riley

Wine Institute confirms wild fire winery casualties

Signorelli, Darioush and Stags' Leap have been confirmed as major casualties of the deadly wild fires in northern California.

Both Darioush and Stag’s Leap had suffered “significant damage” – with both having lost some buildings, while Signorelli has been confirmed by the Wine Institute of California as one of “several wineries” to have been completely destroyed during the fires across prime wine-producing areas in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba.

The industry body - the voice for Californian wine representing more than 1,000 wineries and affiliated businesses from the wine regions across the state, said smoke taint issues were likely to be “minimal” due to harvest “nearly completed”.

Long-term damage to vineyards however would take longer to ascertain, said a spokesman.

The two largest blazes were situated in Napa Valley’s eastern hills, near Atlas Peak, and in the northern part of Sonoma’s city of Santa Rosa where the damage looked urban rather than rural, but far more destructive, he added.

“Our heartfelt thoughts are with our friends and colleagues who have been affected in California and who remain under threat from these wildfires.”

The cause of the fires are as yet unknown, but it is believed they have destroyed 1,500 homes and businesses so far, with more than 100 people injured and ten people losing their lives.

Seven people are reported to have died in Sonoma, two in Napa county and one in Mendocino, with many vineyard workers needing to be airlifted to safety.