Latest California wild fires devastate wineries, disrupt harvest
The latest outbreak of wild fire in California has impacted the wine trade, according to trade association Lake County Winegrape Commission. The Valley fire, which started on Cobb Mountain on Saturday is said to have burned 61,000 acres of land by yesterday morning.
According to Debra Sommerfield, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission, the extent of the damage to vineyards is not yet known. She said: "For some local grape growers, the main impact has been the closure of Highway 29 in the midst of harvest 2015, which has made it challenging both for harvest workers to get to the vineyards to pick the fruit and for trucks to haul the fruit to the winery.”
Lake County Winegrape Commission also reported that Langtry Estate Winery is back up and running by generator power. In a statement from Foley Family Wines on Monday afternoon, Andrea Smalling, the company’s chief marketing officer, said: “It’s likely that we won’t be able to harvest the remaining grapes due to smoke damage but our winemaker is doing some lab work to confirm. The actual damage to the vineyards may not be as bad as we initially thought – there are areas of green once you get past the most outer vines. Our employees are all safe and accounted for.”
The trade body's executive director, Terry Dereniuk, said the Valley fire was the "fifth fire incident in Lake County since August".
"Efforts are underway to gauge the extent of industry damage and coordinate efforts to assist the community,” he added.
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