Some resilient winemakers are already turning to social media with promises to rebuild.

By Jelisa Castrodale
October 02, 2020
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The Glass Incident Fire, which is the fifth largest of the almost two-dozen major fires burning in California right now, currently stretches across 58,880 acres and, as of Thursday night, is only 5 percent contained. 

“The spread of the fire is almost imminent as we speak,” Cal Fire Chief Mark Brunton said on Thursday. "We’re doing everything we can and allocating our resources as best as we can to try to mitigate the threat, but it is something we’re extremely concerned about.”

The Glass Fire in Napa County along CA-128 on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 in Calistoga, CA.
| Credit: Kent Nishimura / Contributor/Getty Images

On Thursday night, the Mercury News reported that fire crews were battling the flames that threatened the AXR Winery in the Napa Valley. Although they hoped that their mitigation efforts would be enough to spare the historic property, more than a dozen other vineyards and wineries have already been destroyed by the massive blaze. (At more than 90 square miles, the fire is currently 1.5 times the size of the country of Liechtenstein.) 

Some Napa Valley wine insiders have described the effects of the fire as "catastrophic," and some of those whose properties have not been damaged have still said that the smoke damage to their grapes have made this year's crops unusable. 

As of this writing, at least nineteen restaurants and wineries have been devastated in the fire, including: 

Cain Vineyard and Winery, which lost "all structures" on its property. "For the families, the owners, the Meadlocks, and all of those who have worked at Cain, the loss is devastating, but still too soon to be fully understood. Nevertheless, all is not lost," it wrote on Instagram. "What remains are the amazing people of Cain, a large number of friends, supporters and customers of Cain, most of the magnificent Valley Oaks, much of the 90 acre Cain Vineyard, and the wines, all safely stored in south Napa."

Castello di Amorosa lost its production facility,  which housed its bottling operations, fermentation tanks, and an estimated $5 million worth of already bottled wine. Its elaborate $30 million Tuscan-style castle was not damaged. "The fire came up from the north side of the valley and hit our farmhouse on the backside," an Amorosa executive told Wine Spectator. "Thankfully, most of our inventory is in offsite warehouses and the castle, but some of the 2020 vintage was in the fermentation room and likely gone," he added.

The three-Michelin star Restaurant at Meadowood (TRAM) was completely destroyed. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that the firefighters "drained the turquoise resort pools" to fill their tanks, but neither TRAM nor The Grill at Meadowood restaurant could be saved.

According to Wine Spectator, Sherwin Family Vineyards posted a statement on its website acknowledging their own losses. "[W]e are heartbroken to share the news that our winery burned to the ground yesterday," the owners wrote. "But, rest assured, we will rebuild and be there for you. We still have wine and we are still in business, so all is not lost. Thank you all for your loyalty and incredible support. It means the world to us, especially at a time like this."

Spring Mountain Vineyard reported that the fires "essentially vaporized" all of the historic buildings on its property, and the forests that surround it. The main winery, caves, and the 136-year-old Miravalle mansion were spared, but it did lose its entire crop of grapes. Vineyard manager Ron Rosenbrand also lost his home in the blaze. 

It would be miraculous if no additional names were added to this sad (and sadly incomplete) list of losses, but needless to say we're all hoping for the best all the same.