Wineries Forced to Close and Evacuate Workers as Wildfire Hits Sonoma
The 16,000-acre Kincaide Fire broke out Wednesday night.
Wildfires have always been one of the risks of living in California, but in recent years, these disasters have repeatedly been front and center. Last year, the now-infamous Camp Fire earned the horrible distinction of becoming the deadliest wildfire in California history—occurring while the previous year’s fires in Napa and Sonoma Counties, which killed two dozen people, were still relatively fresh in people’s minds. Now, another wildfire—the Kincade Fire—is once again putting Sonoma County and its wineries at risk, though for now, the toll thankfully appears to be much less substantial.
The fire began on Wednesday night, and over 16,000 acres have already been affected by the blaze which is only five percent contained, the SF Gate reported yesterday evening. Among the most recognizable wineries in the area, a home was destroyed on the Jackson Family Wines estate on Alexander Mountain with all staff required to evacuate, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and though “not currently in danger,” the Francis Ford Coppola Winery also closed. Additionally, the Robert Young Winery tweeted that the fires had reached their property, but no significant damage occurred.
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As of this writing, it appears the wildfires haven’t resulted in any fatalities, and last night, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat was still describing the damage to homes as a “half-dozen”—that's compared the “more than 5,300 homes” said to be destroyed in the 2017 fires. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, however, according to the Los Angeles Times, Pacific Gas & Electric did report a faulty transmission line in the area at the time the fire broke out.
And though the potential loss of life and property are the top concerns at the moment, Decanter reports that these fires are also unlikely to affect any wine either as the harvest is essentially complete. “The vast majority of grapes have been picked and we look forward to an exceptional 2019 vintage,” Sonoma County Vintners Executive Director Michael Haney told the site yesterday. He also said that, so far, his organization had “no confirmation of significant winery damage in the affected area.”
UPDATE: Read more on the Sonoma wildfire and the recovery efforts by World Central Kitchen here.