I don’t feel much like writing about wine today. As fierce wildfires ravage California’s prime wine regions there seems little to celebrate. Many have lost homes and livelihoods, and there has been some loss of life. I don’t wish to diminish the import of their suffering in also lamenting the loss of several wineries and irreplaceable vineyards. This will be a devastating vintage. Even in the vineyards that survive, with only half the crop harvested, the grapes remaining on the vine will shrivel in the heat, acid levels will plummet, and smoke taint will be impossible to eradicate.
A friend of mine, who makes wine and lives in Santa Rosa, had this to say in response to my inquiry about his safety:
We have our rich people problems in spades, but this is not Puerto Rico. Those folks really deserve our attention. We’ll be fine.
He is of course correct. There are places in the world that suffer devastation and lack the resources to quickly bounce back. Napa and Sonoma are not among them; they will recover.
But today feels like a day of mourning tinged with hope that firefighters can get the fires under control.