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Napa optimistic as region begins to reopen following tragic wildfires

Published:  19 October, 2017

Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) today said that the while the volume of the 2017 vintage would be lower than average, this would have little impact on the greater volume of the Californian wine industry.

How much lower volume would be was still undetermined, but early, anecdotal estimates projected shortages to be comparable to other years affected by common irregularities of farming, like drought and frost damage, said the organisation in its latest update.

Wine inventories from previous vintages were generally unharmed and those losses were minimal, it said.

NVV had as of today heard from 330 of its member wineries of which 47 had reported direct damage, with “just a handful” having experienced significant property loss, it confirmed, adding while some vineyards may need replanting, the actual number was still unknown and may not be understood until future growing seasons.

With Napa Valley accounting for just 4% of all the wine made in California, even if there were “some losses” for the 2017 vintage, there would be “virtually no impact” on the greater volume of the California wine industry, said NVV.

"Damage to the Napa Valley wine industry, its wineries and its vineyards was not widespread and the quality of 2017 vintage is expected to be “excellent."

First responders now had the upper hand with the eastern Napa/western Solano County Atlas Fire at 83% containment; the Nuns Fire (a combination of five different fires on the west side of Napa Valley/east side of Sonoma and Santa Rosa) at 80% containment; and the Tubbs fire west of Calistoga and north of Santa Rosa at 91%, according to NVV.

The tragic wildfires of the past 10 days across the North Coast region has cost more than 40 lives and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, with the natural landscape of the area’s forests and hillsides expected to take years to recover.

“Much of this week’s news has focused on how the fires will impact Napa Valley’s wine industry,” said Michael Honig, NVV chair & president of Honig Vineyard & Winery.

“Winemaking is, indeed, our heart and soul and our biggest economic driver. But, first and foremost, these events are a human tragedy with lives lost and personal property destroyed and while we are eager to ‘get back to normal,’ we also have to keep the proper perspective,” he said.

According to the National Weather Service, there is a chance of rain late Thursday.