Napa Valley Winemakers Optimistic as Famed Wine Region Begins to Recover

Despite Mother Nature challenging Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Solano and Lake Counties in unimaginable ways, the tragic wildfires of the past 10 days have demonstrated the spirit of strength and resilience of these communities.

Across the North Coast region, more than 40 lives were lost, thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed and the natural landscape of the area’s forests and hillsides will take years to recover.

In spite of this devastating human toll, reports of wine industry damage in the Napa Valley do not appear to be widespread. As of today, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) nonprofit association has heard from 330 of its member wineries. Direct damage from the fires was reported by 47 member wineries and just a handful experienced significant property loss.

“Much of this week’s news has focused on how the fires will impact Napa Valley’s wine industry,” said Michael Honig, chair of the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) Board of Directors and president of Honig Vineyard & Winery. “Winemaking is, indeed, our heart and soul and our biggest economic driver. But, first and foremost, these events are a human tragedy with lives lost and personal property destroyed. While we are eager to ‘get back to normal,’ we also have to keep the proper perspective.”

First responders now have the upper hand with the eastern Napa/western Solano County Atlas Fire at 83 percent containment; the Nuns Fire (a combination of five different fires on the west side of Napa Valley/east side of Sonoma and Santa Rosa) at 80 percent containment; and the Tubbs fire west of Calistoga and north of Santa Rosa at 91 percent containment. According to the National Weather Service, there is a chance of rain late Thursday.

“We are enormously grateful to the first responders, law enforcement personnel, community leaders and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help our communities,” said Honig. “We are also humbled and honored by the unprecedented outpouring of support and generosity from our friends around the world. Those inquiries, kind words and expressions of compassion helped us to get through this terrible time.”