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Wineries Harvest while Wine Country Burns

The fires are still blazing, but most vineyards have avoided damage or smoke pollution.

By W. Blake Gray 
Wine Searcher -- August 21, 2020

Large swathes of California continued to burn on Thursday from fires ignited by more than 10,000 lightning strikes. Firefighters are desperately overworked. Yet, even as homes and a hospital were evacuated, many wineries report clear skies and no smoke in the vineyard.

... Kathleen Inman, winemaker for Inman Family Wines in Santa Rosa, said she visited her sister and brother-in-law at their home the top of Pine Mountain on Wednesday night.

"You could see the fire around Lake Sonoma. Huge flareups," Inman told Wine-Searcher. "It's really quite shocking. And that's just one of the fires. Everything isn't on fire but, boy, there were some spectacular flames."

But the next day, she came back down to blue skies.

"I just checked all the vineyards this morning," Inman said. "None of the vineyards were smokey and everything was tasting great. I've already picked half of the Olivet Ranch Vineyard for Endless Crush rosé. This is the earliest harvest I can remember.

"The ash falling down is really good fertilizer," Inman said. "It doesn't affect any grape flavors. It's a smaller crop this year and it seems very tasty."

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