Impact of fires on wine industry and vineyards

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A staple of the Napa Valley wineries are being threatened and even destroyed by the fires still raging through the area. The experts say it will take time before we know the long term impact, but right now i’m told many Fresno State graduates who work in Napa Valley could lose their jobs if the wineries they’re working at are destroyed by the fires. 

Fresno State’s vineyard is quiet after a recent harvest, but two hundred miles away in Napa Valley a firestorm burns through vineyards in wine country. Those close to Fresno State’s wine program believe the destruction could eliminate the jobs of Fresno State graduates who now work there.

“We’re in contact with them and we hope to remain in contact and see what their needs are and work with them through this horrible loss for them personally,” said Cynthia Wood of the Fresno State Viticulture Department.  

Fresno State Professor Doctor Miguel Pedroza has studied vineyards all over the world. He says it isn’t just fire that threatens Napa Valley’s vineyards, but also smoke that can seep into wine grapes.

“But of course that depends on how long the vineyard is exposed to smoke,” said Dr. Pedroza.  

Doctor Pedroza believes in many cases wineries will have to start over losing valuable vines that are more than a decade old which produced a high quality grape. Newly planted vines won’t produce fruit for at least two years.  

“If you lose a vineyard that is old, which is the case of many of the vineyards in Napa well it’s a restart,” said Dr. Pedroza.   
 
At the River Park farmer’s market Tania Mitchum remembers when her family’s vineyard in Madera Ranchos was nearly burned. She feels for the Napa Valley. 

“It’s something that’s very frustrating because you can’t do anything about it. Tomorrow you could wake up and something could be happening to your product and it is a little bit sad,” said Mitchum.  

While this will be a very difficult time for napa valley’s wine industry– the leaders here at fresno state’s winery say they’re preparing to step up and assist in any way possible to help california’s wine industry rebuild.
 

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