Published on : Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Due to devastating wildfires, eight Northern California counties this week have brought a great blow to the important wine and tourism industries, destroying several historic wineries and threatening the remaining grape harvest in the Napa and Sonoma valleys.
Such devastations threaten to disrupt tens of thousands of jobs and destroy valuable stores of grapes and wine in bins, barrels and bottles. The extent of the damage is still unknown, because the fires are blocking many worried owners from reaching their wineries.
Tourism in the region, which is a multibillion-dollar industry that includes high-end hotels, wine-tasting tours and expensive cuisine is suffering a lot as the flames have claimed a number of establishments and forced many others to shut down for the rest of the week.
The blazes, which have left at least 17 people dead, continued to rage even on Tuesday. Seventeen separate fires, across 115,000 acres, have forced more than 20,000 people to evacuate.
California remains the fourth-largest wine producer in the world, and generates $15.2 billion in taxes annually.
The fires also destroyed several Santa Rosa establishments, including the Fountaingrove Inn, the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country hotel, Willi’s Wine Bar, the Cricklewood steakhouse and more.
The French Laundry, a restaurant in Yountville with three Michelin stars, was closed Monday night because of power failures. Some wineries have, however, managed to escape the harm.
Last year, California wineries drew 23.6 million visits and $7.2 billion in tourist expenditures, according to the Wine Institute. The area is known for its cabernet sauvignon grapes, which currently fetch more than $8,000 a ton.