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Explosive Forest Fires Devastate Lake County
Unstoppable. Wildfires ravage also wineries and vineyards. (© blogs.ft.com)

USA (California) – In the north of California Mother Nature was once again merciless. Most recently, a particularly devastating conflagration burnt hundreds of houses and did not even spare wine growing areas – the areas affected were the edges of Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. In Lake County, about 20,000 persons had to be evacuated. About 27,000 hectares, vineyards included, were devastated, and just under 600 houses were burnt. More than 2,300 firemen were busy to clear a wire way was all they could do. What helped them were two or three days of cooler weather.

 

Yet, the damages are enormous. The neighborhood of dozens of wine estates and vineyards was not accessible any longer for days. Over 5,000 houses are still without electricity. The harvest in the wine regions was interrupted. For instance, Howel Mountain Vineyards was evacuated, and their harvest hands had to stop working in the precious vineyards with ripe cabernet grapes. Langtry Winery, Gueneov Valley, Lake County, east of Middletown, had to be left alone soon afterwards. Meanwhile, they have come back there.

„We’ve used a generator, which allows us to do the most urgent works“, Andrea Smalling, CMO of Foley Family Wines (parent company of Langtry Winery), is quoted by regional media. "It’s very unlikely that there are still grapes present which we can harvest. Probably they are no longer useable due to the heat and the strong smoke emission. The real damages in the vineyards, however, are less heavy than we thought. There are parts which are almost undamaged.” But one of the buildings of the Langtry Winery estate is burnt down to the ground. “We sigh in relief that the historic Langtry building remained undamaged”, Smalling says.

“We are not allowed to enter our premises yet”, Dave Guffy, director of The Hess Collection is quoted. “There the grapes are the spine of our Select Red program. We can only wait and hope until the area is released and the closed roads are re-opened. The devastating conflagration followed a heavy drought. A total of over 5,000 single fires were counted. Current figures substantiate 87,000 hectares to be destroyed. Yet, 2015 was not the worst fire season in California. As all the vintners on California’s northern coast remember, 2008 was the worst fire season in Californa ever. Then, just under 560,000 hectares burnt. (red.yoopress)

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