Residents and business owners have finally had the opportunity to take stock of the damage caused by the fires and it makes for heartbreaking news. Decanter reported that 41 people tragically lost their lives to the fire while 5,700 properties were destroyed. The fire is suspected to have been caused by downed power lines.
A disaster of this magnitude naturally puts people’s problems into perspective and the wine associations have said their first concern was for the welfare of residents and neighbours. Surprisingly, fewer than 10 of the 1,200 wineries have been deemed ‘destroyed or heavily damaged’.
The 2017 harvest of Sonoma and Napa were also almost completely picked before the fire and they estimate just 10% of the harvest was lost. However, Mendocino was not so lucky and lost almost 25% of their harvest with most of the Cabernet Sauvignon still on its vines.
The real tragedy is the loss of life and the many people who have been displaced. Farm workers, who were complaining about the cost of housing before to the fire, expected matters to get worse as more people find themselves in the same position. These fires have had a tremendously negative impact on California. It is going to take a massive co-ordinated effort to get this area back to its best. Until then, it is simply too early to tell what the economic impact will be. For more information on the fire and how each individual wine farm fared, read here.