The wildfires raging in California have spared top vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and other northern counties, says my Napa-based friend, wine consultant Tim McDonald.
“We’ve been extremely lucky,” he says. “The one fire in Napa Valley was in a rural area with no residents, no vineyards, not even any horses.”
Still, some growers are concerned that smoke from the fires could taint their grapes.
There’s a story and photos of the problem in the online Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
“In 1995 some vines actually burned, and other wineries nearby had smoke damage. When the wines were vinified, they tasted kind of smoky. But that was later in the season, when the grapes were more developed.”
The chief danger right now, he said, is the Central Valley, where many inexpensive wines are made. The fires in Big Sur and Butte County are directly west of Modesto and Fresno, and the ocean winds have been blowing smoke straight east.
“There’s been a lot of chat,” McDonald says. “People are concerned.”