How Sonoma’s Vineyards Survived a Siege of Fire, Smoke and Ash

When I visited Gundlach Bundschu, development on their household’s home was properly underway. The vines had simply begun to bud. Winery devotees sipped chardonnay close to the pond that the Bundschus expanded after the Hanly hearth. Winery employees and firefighters used that water to save lots of the vineyard, the vineyards and the household’s beloved pear bushes.

“The family business has withstood the test of time while learning from our past hardships and staying true to our roots,” Ms. Bundschu stated.

Inside the stone-walled tasting room, I sidled as much as the bar because the host Cat Francisco poured everybody a splash of the vineyard’s 2017 Gewürztraminer. A person carrying a Gundlach Bundschu cap defined that after he noticed on social media that the winery survived, he booked his flight to come back help his favourite vineyard, “and buy this new hat,” he added, tipping it towards Ms. Francisco.

“The fires did have an immediate effect on tourism in the month following the fires,” Ms. Bundschu defined, particularly because the media reported that the vineyard had been destroyed. Yet followers of this property, and its well-liked Huichica music competition, have returned for the standard wine it continues to provide.

“Well you know,” Ms. Francisco quipped, “Grapes are simply weeds with exceptionally good P.R.”

At the close by Chateau St. Jean’s winery, its winemaker, Margo Van Staaveren, met me within the gardens of the palatial property, saying that when she returned, she discovered solely a handful of the vines had caught hearth, and simply a small slice of the vineyard grounds.

Lucky for the grape growers (and those that get pleasure from their output), the climate that 12 months had pressured a untimely harvest. Approximately 85 p.c of the Sonoma Valley grapes had been picked earlier than any smoke infused grape skins, and to this point no proof of long-term harm to vines has been discovered. The smoke taint seems to solely have affected unpicked grapes, not root techniques.

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