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Lake County winery sues grape company for allegedly selling them smoke tainted grapes

Lake County winery sues grape company for allegedly selling them smoke tainted grapes

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Smoke taint

Smoke rose over a vineyard as the Glass Fire burned Sept. 28 in Calistoga.

A winery in Lake County is suing a grape growing company for allegedly selling them smoke-tainted grapes, according to the North Bay Business Journal. Langtry Farms claims that grapes delivered to them by Santa Rosa-based Torick Farms (a company run by a former top executive with Jackson Family Wines) harvested during last year's wildfires ruined a number of tanks of wine.

At a court hearing on May 20, Langtry Farms filed receipts from third-party test results showing high levels of taint in grape samples (allegedly taken from tanks associated with Torick Farms' grapes). Torick Farms, however, presented evidence that the winery did not raise any concerns about the quality of their grapes at time of delivery.

In mid-April, Langtry Farms sent the grape growing company a bill for over $330,000 — the total cost of tanks and barrels that were allegedly damaged by tainted wine, as well as other related expenses.

Wildfires across the region had a devastating effect on wine grape production in 2020. In Napa County, for example, the LNU Complex and Glass wildfires in tandem with the pandemic led to the value of wine grape crops dropping from $937 million in 2019 to $461 million in 2020. Production also decreased by 60,000 tons compared to 2019.

"Obviously, ultimately the case will turn on the condition of the grapes delivered by Torick to Langtry and the respective parties' knowledge — actual or constructive — of the condition of the grapes," said Judge Michael Lunas at the court hearing, according to the North Bay Business Journal.

Napa Valley is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world. To celebrate Napa Valley's natural beauty, we asked readers to send us their scenic Napa Valley shots to showcase its many wonders. These are some of our favorites.

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