Atlas Fire

Grapevines with dead leaves in an area of Soda Canyon Road that was burned in the Atlas Peak fire.

Maria Sestito, Register

Toll on wine industry develops

The area’s wine industry is struggling to gauge the extent of the damage from the Sunday night fires that were still burning on Tuesday.

By Tuesday morning, multiple wineries were reported damaged or destroyed and large swaths of vineyard have likely also been burned, but details were limited.

In an update, the Napa Valley Vintners said, “It is too early to estimate the economic impact of the fires on the Napa Valley wine industry.” The majority of the region’s grapes had been harvested before the fires began.

But as a thick mask of smoke enveloped the valley on Tuesday morning, smoke taint was all but certain to affect the grapes that had yet to be picked, thus tarnishing the quality of the wines that would ultimately be made from them.

Dr. Kaan Kurtural, assistant cooperative extension specialist with UC Davis, said, “Anything left hanging is going to have smoke taint,” which imparts unpleasant flavors in the finished wines and is difficult to blend out.

Having reached out to members on Monday, the Vintners had heard from more than 100 by Tuesday morning.

At least four of the Vintners’ members reported the fire had caused total or very significant losses to their wineries. Signorello Estate on Silverado Trail was reported destroyed by the Atlas Peak fire on Monday, while initial reports put nearby James Cole and Darioush wineries among those that had been damaged.