California’s fabled wine region is ‘most terrible, destructive and destructive year’

Dario Sattui has seen a lot in the alcohol business in his fifties, but never once has it been as brutal as a year.

“First, we had COVID off for three months. After the first fire in the hills, visitors did not come, ”78-year-old Sattui said in August of the blaze, which turned into a fire at the LNU Lightning Complex, the fourth largest in California history.

Before the glass fire hit the Napa Valley area, it became the most devastating in the history of California wine country. On September 27, 67,484 acres were burnt and hundreds of houses were devastated by this blast.

For Sattui, the Glass Fire destroyed an estimated $ 9 million worth of wine and devastated its stone farmhouse, but left its iconic Castello d’Amorosa winery in Calistoga. But the return to business has been slow, and he sees struggles around for local businesses, from restaurants to beauty parlors to tourists catering.

“In 48 years in business, this is the most frightening, devastating and devastating year.”

Castello di Amorosa’s farmhouse in Calistoga, California.

Castello d’Amorosa

Sattui has already begun plotting the restoration of his farmhouse, under his handmade roof tiles from Europe. His Tuscan-style palace Castello di Amorosa also re-opened to visitors about a week ago. But despite Nappa’s return to the blue sky in a billion-dollar wine region, Sattui said the palace has seen about a third of visitors in the same month of last year.

“The one that burned the most was in the hills,” Sattui said. “Nappa really makes great wine. I want to encourage people to come and go. “

Nappa’s wine region covers 46,000 acres under cultivation, but with its hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses, it provides $ 9.5 billion annually to the local economy and $ 34 billion nationally, even though its Crop production grown in California for only 4% of wine grapes.

John Mormarco, managing partner of wine analytics and advisory company bw166, estimates that Glass Fire’s property alone, along with about three dozen Napa Valley winners, could have totaled hundreds of millions of dollars, while lost wine inventories cost another $ 20 Could have been million to $ 50 million.

According to their estimates, damage to the crop from smoke and fire could threaten the region’s wine grapes by a third, or about $ 200 million, and would be a $ 800 million blow to the winners’ revenue over time.

“Unfortunately, we’ll be able to know more when the grape crush report comes out in February,” he told Marketwatch.

Flames are seen in the mountains

The hardest areas from the glass fire were the wine grape growing areas of Howell Mountain and Spring Mountain, which, like hundreds of wineries in Napa Valley, are usually family run and produce less than 10,000 wines a year.

Matt Sherwin said his parents’ home in Spring Mountain was fine because of a fire outbreak in the vineyard, but the family’s 24-year-old Sherwin Family Vineyard Winery, which burned and collapsed in the basement and barrel storage area , Was a total. loss.

The assistant winner told Marketwatch, “Originally, we have lost 2019 and 2020, which will help maintain the business by linking sales of our old vintages to bottled and stored off-site.

“It is one of those things, where we will not immediately feel pain from lost pain,” he said. “We won’t feel for three years, when there will be a big hole for two years where we have nothing.”

Steve Sherwin flows through the rubble at his family’s winery.

Sherwin Family Vineyards

David Nassar, co-founder of the destroyed Flying Lady Winery on Vasant Mountains, also plans to rebuild.

“My personal collection, including and15 and ’16 vintages, and nearly all of 2017 were burned in the fire. It was a missile for us, ”he said.

Flying Lady Winery has burnt bottles amid debris.

Zachari Nasar

But the former Marketwatch columnist said that the Flying Lady’s 2018 and 2019 voyages took place in a nearby cave and before aging, meaning the brand would continue to be rebuilt.

“We see it as an unfortunate risk that hit us,” Nassar said. “It won’t put us down.”

Despite the devastation of the fire, the chairman and chief executive of Napa Valley Winters, Linda Reif, insisted that about 80% of the group’s 550 winery members plan to move forward with their 2020 vintage.

“It’s soon to speculate on the volume, yet we can say it will be smaller than usual,” Riff said in an email comment, adding only wine worthy of the Nappa Valley label would be put in a bottle.

Catherine Hall, owner of Hall, Vault and Baca Wines, which is raising funds for wineries affected by the glass fire, said that for this year’s vintage, it’s going to play out in terms of “quality” rather than quantity .

“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to fix this tourist season,” Hall said, pointing to the economic toll of the coronavirus virus on hotels, restaurants and wine-tasting rooms. “But people are coming back. It is really encouraging. ”

In April bw166, before the fire broke out, MorMarco had hit the epidemic, potentially raising the nation’s nearly 10,000 winners by $ 5.9 billion this year, with the largest drain tasting room selling less.

Glass Fire could add another $ 1 billion in losses for the winners. Here is a description of its known loss:

Glass fire toll

Additional reporting by VineCountry Media, Marketwatch

Due to their heavy reliance on travel and tourism for sale rather than distribution to customers through large wine retailers, the small winnings that win the bulk of the American wine business are likely to be the biggest casualties of the epidemic.

related: How the epidemic business is increasing in the wine country

Gladys Horiucci of the Wine Institute said that people had heard of California’s devastating wildfires and the misconception that the entire 2020 “vintage is lost”, though most of the West Coast victory, from Washington State to the border of Mexico , Was untouched by fire.

“They are open for business, but of course you have COVID issues,” he told MarketWatch, COVID-19 means the tasting room should operate at half-capacity, which has given many of the country’s winners Pushed to focus more on digital sales and wine tasting online.

But if you ask the winners of NAPA, it is about moving forward despite the difficulty.

“My father was a farmer,” Hall said. “I think it is in our DNA to roll with the punches given to you by nature.”


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