2020 so far has been rough, to say the least, first COVID hit and now we’re dealing with the loss of our beloved West Coast wineries due to ravaging wildfires. It’s just too much! Wine enthusiasts all over the world were saddened when the pandemic forced our favorite wineries and vineyards across the globe to close in early spring. By May, we were rejoicing because COVID restrictions had eased, allowing us Vinoheads to get back to tasting and visiting our go-to wineries (with masks on of course)! Just when things were finally looking up and travel restrictions eased in the summer, wildfire season hit and spread like well, wildfire! The fires have been ravaging iconic wineries in vineyards throughout the West Coast such as Willamette Valley, Napa, Sonoma, Calistoga, and many more.
West Coast vineyards and wineries that escaped the wildfires are currently experiencing smoke taint ~ which winemakers are nervous about because it can affect 2020 vintage grapes. Smoke Taint can impart smoky flavors and aromas to a wine that render it unpleasant and unmarketable. These wines are not harmful to drink but their tastes are similar to char, campfire, or even ashtray. What makes it even worse is that smoke taint is difficult to predict as volatile phenols cannot be seen with the naked eye and can affect both bottles and wine fermented in barrels. Currently, many winemakers with vineyards in Northern and Central California are sending their grapes and juice to a research lab for analysis.
These wildfires are not only devastating to the historic vineyards and wineries that have been around for generations, but also to the many long time tourists and newcomers who have never had the chance to experience the wonders of these beautiful landscapes, and sadly may never get the chance to revel in their splendor. What does this mean for you? Well, if you had plans to visit this season, you may have to reschedule as the wildfires may have restricted road access to sites or worse, the vineyard/winery may no longer exist. To be safe and sure before booking your trip, check here to get an up to date report on California, Oregon, and Washington wine country.
Here at TriWine, we wanted to provide you with an updated list of the historic wineries and vineyards that have been affected or burned down by the wildfires and Glass Incident fire.
OREGON ~ WILLAMETTE VALLEY
- Smoke taint and poor air quality
CALIFORNIA ~ NAPA VALLEY AND SONOMA
- Behrens Family Winery – burned but tank barn and tasting room ok
- Bremer Family Winery – vineyards burned
- Burgess Cellars – winery destroyed, minimal vineyard damage
- Chateau Boswell Winery – main building burned down and vintage wines from 1979 destroyed
- Castello di Amorosa Winery – lost 2500 bottles and farmhouse burned down
- Calistoga Ranch – resort is badly damaged
- Davis Estates – propane tank explosion burned everything surrounding the winery but the winery is still intact
- Fairwinds Estates – tasting room severely damaged
- Hourglass Winery – winery facility and guesthouse destroyed
- Hunnicutt Wines – significant damage to winemaking equipment
- Meadowwood Resort – gold clubhouse, Michelin restaurant, and other buildings destroyed
- Merus Wines– production and residences destroyed but winery intact
- Newton Vineyard – significant damage
- Paloma – Minimal fire damage, but heavy smoke damage to the remaining grapes
- Sherwin Family Vineyards – winery destroyed
- Spring Mountain Vineyard – 1873 winery and vineyard destroyed
- Sterling Vineyards – significant damage to winemaking equipment
- Tofanelli Vineyards – barn and family home destroyed
- Tuck Beckstoffer Vineyards – winery intact, surrounding destroyed
- Possible smoke taint and poor air quality
If you wish to support these wineries, please head over to their websites as many of them carry wine off-site and are still able to process online orders.
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