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Vineyards, Wineries Spared From Most Wildfire Damage

Ed Joyce / Capital Public Radio

The Terra d'Oro vineyard uses sustainable farming practices including using recycled water and rainwater runoff to augment groundwater supply.

Ed Joyce / Capital Public Radio

Both the Butte and Valley fires in northern California were in areas with vibrant wine industries. Fortunately, vineyards in both areas were relatively unscathed by the flames. Smoke damage is now the concern.

The Valley Fire was north of Napa Valley in Lake County. Terry Dereniuk is the Executive Director of the Lake County Wineries Association.

"Overall the wine industry in Lake County, I think I can say, has been incredibly lucky," says Dereniuk. 

Ninety percent of the wineries in the fire-affected area have resumed operations.

And, although the harvest was interrupted by road closures last week, Dereniuk says the majority of the grapes in Lake County will be processed successfully.

She also says vintners are testing the fruit for smoke damage. So, far none of the test results are worrisome.

"As of the test results that have come back there are no elevated levels of guaiacol and 4-methylguaiacol both of which have been correlated to smoke flavors," she says.

The news is also positive from the Butte Fire in Amador County. Most of the flames were on the opposite side of the county from the region's vineyards. The Amador Vintner’s Association also reports that smoke damage to this year's vintage is unlikely.