Wine growers in Lake County have been keeping a close eye on the Rocky Fire, which is California’s largest wildfire this season. Vintners and growers are hoping smoke hasn’t tainted the crop.
So far, vineyards in the area have escaped the flames and the worst of the smoke. The center of the fire was located in the eastern part of Lake County some distance from wine country.
Debra Sommerfield is the president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission.
“It generally takes three to five days of persistent, lingering smoke to have an impact,” Sommerfield says.
She says there have only been a few days since the fire started on July 29 that smoke has hung in the air for more than a few hours.
“And, this is really in stark contrast to the fires that we had in 2008 and 2011, you know, across the north coast.”
Smoke from the 2008 fires left many Mendocino wines harmed beyond recovery.
Sommerfield says as long as the wind keeps blowing east, the valuable grape crop will suffer little or no damage.
Two vineyards in Lake County near Highway 20 have been evacuated because they’re near containment lines.