‘We’ll still have wine’: Local impacts of fires in wine country and COVID restrictions

CAPE FEAR REGION, NC (WWAY) — More fires erupted again in California on Sunday. Quickly spreading to the heart of Napa Valley, striking fear in the state’s famed wine country.

“Their homes are disappearing and their jobs are literally going up into flames,” Doug Zucker said.

Zucker, Co-Owner of Bridgewater Wines in Leland, says he knows at least one of the wineries he stocks has been severely impacted by the fires, but he doesn’t think it means a wine shortage is on the horizon.

“You shouldn’t see a gigantic impact with what’s available on our shelves, with pricing and so on. If there’s a specific winery that you like, you may have problems,” Zucker said. “They’re going to be out of the market for a couple of years, but in terms of wine in general, you’re going to be able to find California wine.”

Zucker notes that the vines are sturdy and can bounce back after the fires, possibly producing grapes again next year.

Randy Hall, Co-Owner of Taste the Olive and Vine in Wilmington, says we could see impacts further down the road when 2020 wines are released because of COVID-19 restrictions interfering with harvesting, not just in Napa Valley but around the globe.

“I think we’re still going to see sufficient product coming out of Napa in 2020 when they release that, but it will probably be less. You might see price increases and it will be, I believe, vineyard to vineyard,” Hall said.

But rest assured —

“We’ll still have wine, guaranteed,” he said.

Hall says the fires will not only impact the amount of wine produced, but the taste as well. 2020 wines coming from Napa Valley could have a smokier taste than normal.

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