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Wine Spectator: California Fires Threaten Napa, Sonoma and Other Wine Regions During Harvest

August 24, 2020

With wildfires continuing across California, the state’s vintners are trying to schedule picking while wondering if they’ll need to evacuate. Vineyards normally act as fire breaks, but can burn when a fire is hot enough and spreading fast enough. The spread of the fires has been due to what Cal Fire calls “extreme fire behavior,” with fires making runs in multiple directions and spot fires popping up in surrounding areas. More than 500 structures have been destroyed in the LNU complex—including fires in Napa, Sonoma, Lake, and Solano counties—so far.

Meanwhile, vintners are trying to harvest. A heat wave has ripened grapes and growers already had picks scheduled. Vintners in evacuation zones are keeping limited crews in their wineries to monitor fermentations, wondering if the power will stay on and if they’ll have to leave. And smoke blankets the region. Wine Spectator has a full report.

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