The Northern California wine country is on fire right now. Beginning on Sunday, September 27th the Glass Fire has torn through Sonoma and Napa counties before converging with two other wildfires—the Shady Fire and the Boysen Fire—tripling in size to 36,000 acres with 0% containment as of this writing. 200 miles north in Shasta County, the Zogg Fire has claimed the lives of at least three individuals to date.
With both wildfires raging uncontrolled, evacuation orders or advisories have been put into effect in Napa and Sonoma counties, per NPR, leaving the status of many of the area’s vineyards and wineries in question. Cal Fire has confirmed at least 80 structures destroyed in the California wine country by the Glass Fire, with another 150 from the neighboring Zogg Fire.
Early reports of the damages to wineries are beginning to trickle in, and Eater San Francisco has compiled a list of the losses producers have suffered. Completely lost to the wildfires are Chateau Boswell, Burgess Cellars’ winery (though their vineyards remain intact), the storage building for Castello di Amorosa holding “millions of dollars of bottled wine,” and Tofanelli Vineyards lost century-old vines as well as a barn. Houglass Winery and Newton Vineyard are among those experiencing “significant” damages to property, and the iconic Restaurant at Meadowood has “burned to the ground.”
The list is expected to grow as more and more producers who evacuated are able to return to their properties on this week to survey the damages.
It is becoming a tragic tradition in wine writing, to report on the damages vineyards are experiencing due to raging wildfires, and indeed this is Sprudge’s fourth consecutive year doing so as it relates solely to Northern California growers. Climate change is only making things worse. “Hotter temperatures, less dependable precipitation and snowpack that melts sooner lead to drier soil and parched vegetation,” per Scientific American, are creating a powder keg waiting to go off. During this season alone, California has seen all-time high temperatures and six of the 20 largest wildfires in modern history. Over one million acres have already been claimed by the blazes, displacing nearly a quarter million people in the process. Without considerable, top-down changes to stem the tide of global warming, these once-generational-now-all-too-common disasters are only going to increase in frequency and severity.
This story is developing…