The Tubbs fire was the most destructive wildfire in California history burning major areas of Northern California, including Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties. Since October 2017, grape growers and winemakers alike have been nervous to discover how the fire has affected crops. Vintners have begun to see some telling marks along the vines. Some appear completely destroyed, colored black and crisp to the touch, but it won’t be until budding season that growers will know for certain how much damage the Tubbs fire caused.
In about mid-march, when the buds start emerging, vintners then will be able to determine if the shoots are growing normally, or if the vines are so spoiled they will have to be replanted. Even so, the vine can produce grapes- but their quality may have deteriorated. Growers will have to monitor the quantity and quality of the fruit to ensure yields throughout the vineyard are consistent.
Luckily, only a small amount of vines were harmed by the fire. A recent survey by Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute found that 99.8 percent of the region’s vineyards were not affected by the October fires. But any loss can add up quickly in sales. Preliminary figures for the size and value of the 2017 crop are yet to be released.