Executive Briefings

Fires Strike a Blow to the Wine Industry in Sonoma and Napa Counties

The deadly firestorms across wine country have burned hotels, small lodges, winery buildings and even some vineyards, officials in the region said.

But the worst damage is likely to be to the residents who toil in the wine and tourism industry, particularly in Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County, where the Fountaingrove fire devastated neighborhoods in the north end of the city.

That fire burned the 250-room Hilton Sonoma Wine Country hotel and the smaller Fountaingrove Inn, and reportedly destroyed several other small inns, restaurants and other businesses, according to fire officials and local media reports.

“I’m pretty sure I lost my house,” said Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, an industry group. “It sounds like most of the houses in the Fountaingrove neighborhood have been burned down.”

Despite scattered reports of flames engulfing and surrounding wineries in the thick oak woodlands of Sonoma and Napa counties, the vineyards are likely to weather the flames well, Kruse said. Most of the crop has been picked, she said.

“Our grapes are about 90-percent harvested in Sonoma County,” Kruse said. “I think Napa is probably a little behind us, just given how much cabernet fruit they have, and the ripening time for cabernet.”

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But the worst damage is likely to be to the residents who toil in the wine and tourism industry, particularly in Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County, where the Fountaingrove fire devastated neighborhoods in the north end of the city.

That fire burned the 250-room Hilton Sonoma Wine Country hotel and the smaller Fountaingrove Inn, and reportedly destroyed several other small inns, restaurants and other businesses, according to fire officials and local media reports.

“I’m pretty sure I lost my house,” said Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, an industry group. “It sounds like most of the houses in the Fountaingrove neighborhood have been burned down.”

Despite scattered reports of flames engulfing and surrounding wineries in the thick oak woodlands of Sonoma and Napa counties, the vineyards are likely to weather the flames well, Kruse said. Most of the crop has been picked, she said.

“Our grapes are about 90-percent harvested in Sonoma County,” Kruse said. “I think Napa is probably a little behind us, just given how much cabernet fruit they have, and the ripening time for cabernet.”

Read Full Article