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CWI confirms ‘vast majority’ of Sonoma vineyards and wineries intact

Published:  29 October, 2019

The California Wine Institute (CWI) has confirmed that 'currently' the vast majority of vineyards and wineries in Sonoma County are intact.

The CWI issued the statement last night as the Kincade wildfire, which started late last Wednesday, continued to sweep the wine country.

It said: "The Kincade wildfire is limited to the northeastern part of Sonoma County in a non-residential rural area comprised mainly of grass and brushland.

“The situation is fluid, but at the time of writing, the vast majority of Sonoma County vineyards and wineries are intact.”

Vineyards were serving as firebreaks due to their high moisture content, helping to save structures and homes, although there had been "some individual losses", it added.

“Some Sonoma County destinations, including hotels, wineries and restaurants, may be impacted. We extend our thoughts to the people and communities impacted by the recent wildfires.”

With wineries in the North Coast and around the state finished or in the homestretch of the harvest prior to the fires, the CWI said it expected no impact on the overall statewide 2019 winegrape harvest.

By Monday night, the Kincade Fire was reported to have swept through 30,068ha of land in Sonoma County – more than double that of the 12,140ha reported Sunday night.

Driven by powerful winds, the fire was reported to be at just 15% containment Monday night.

On Sunday night California governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency. At the time, Newsom said the high winds fuelling the blazes were “unprecedented” as he pledged to deploy “every resource available”.

Yesterday it was reported that the historic Soda Rock winery in the Alexander Valley had been destroyed in the current wildfires, which has seen the closure of several major wineries, including one owned by Francis Ford Coppola.

The latest wildfires sweeping California follow the fires last November and the summer fires earlier in 2018 and, they come just over a year after the devastating wildfires that ravaged northern California in October 2017, with the most impacted regions Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino.

Several wineries were destroyed in the latter, including Signorello, and there was significant damage to Darioush.

California accounts for 81% of US wine production and if it were a country, it would be the fourth leading wine producer in the world (CWI).