“Devastating” is the word winemaker Laura Barrett uses to describe last week, when the Glass Fire swept through the Upvalley and reduced this year’s harvest to a mere afterthought.
This week’s harvest report contains a tally of vineyards/wineries in the Spring Mountain AVA that either sustained heavy damage or were destroyed.
“It has been a tough week for all in the Napa Valley and our thoughts are with all who have suffered irrevocable losses from the Glass Fire,” said Elizabeth Vianna of Chimney Rock Winery. “We are so very grateful for the amazing first responders who have saved lives, homes and property.”
Here’s the last harvest report of 2020, organized by American Viticultural Area (AVA):
Howell Mountain — Laura Barrett, Clif Family Winery — “The last week has been devastating to so many people and places. As we begin to return home after the Glass Fire, vintners are assessing damages and understanding what we can, or cannot, make of the 2020 vintage. The Howell Mountain AVA is still under mandatory evacuation and it’s been hard to connect with other producers. I do know that the skies cleared to blue on Sunday and we all felt a bit of normality. At Clif Family Winery, we were able to get a crew up the mountain on Monday to harvest the last of our Cold Springs Vineyard. It’s a sad ending to a tough vintage, but we’ve got grapes and we must at least try to make the wine.”
Spring Mountain District — According to the Spring Mountain District Association, every vineyard/winery on Spring Mountain sustained some damage. The association says reports are still trickling in, but the following properties within the Spring Mountain District AVA either sustained heavy damage or were destroyed:
- Behrens Family Winery
- Cain Vineyard & Winery
- Eeden Vineyards
- Flying Lady
- Marston Family Vineyard
- Newton Vineyard
- Peacock Family Vineyard
- Ritchie Creek Vineyard
- Sarocka Estate
- School House Vineyard
- Sherwin Family Vineyards
- Terra Valentine
St. Helena — Katie Hayne Simpson, Chase Cellars — “Harvest 2020 in northern St Helena came to an abrupt halt as the Glass Fire broke out early Sunday, Sept. 27. Now a week into the fire, our hearts go out to the growers and wineries who will have to leave their grapes on the vine because of the heavy smoke. Absolutely everyone in Appellation St. Helena has been affected – some dramatically, having lost everything; while others (including Chase) had the opportunity of making a mad dash to prepare for the worst. The fires continue to burn to the north and firefighters and the utilities are busy securing burn areas. Here in St. Helena we’re assessing the damage to our homes, livelihoods and psyches. That being said, 2020 won’t be a complete loss — many St. Helena vineyards were already harvested and have delicious new wines tucked away. Cooler, damp weather is predicted this weekend which will help wash this event into history. At this point I can only report that Chase Cellars’ physical infrastructure was spared, harvest 2020 has come to an end for us, and we’re eagerly looking forward to 2021.”
Rutherford — Kristin Belair, Honig Vineyard & Winery — ”The 2020 harvest has been fraught with challenges every step of the way and every bit of good news is a welcome respite from the devastation wrought by the fires all through the West Coast. Many wineries have wrapped harvest and are looking to their next steps forward. We are all anxiously tracking the progress of our amazing first responders and are ever so grateful for everything that they have accomplished in this unprecedented season. We are all hoping that the forecasted rain at the end of the week will bring an end to fire season and blue skies ahead.”
Stags Leap District — Elizabeth Vianna, Chimney Rock Winery — ”Harvest came to a finish for most of the Stags Leap District producers this week including Marcus Notaro, winemaker at Stags Leap Wine Cellars, Jon Emmerich, winemaker at Silverado Vineyards, and my team at Chimney Rock. It has been a tough week for all in the Napa Valley and our thoughts are with all who have suffered irrevocable losses from the Glass Fire. We are so very grateful for the amazing first responders who have saved lives, homes and property. In tough harvests like this one, with so many challenges, what stands out above all is the sense of community in our beautiful Napa Valley. I would like to send a special shout out to my neighbors in the Stags Leap District and other AVAs. Winemaking friends always communicate closely during harvest, but the sense of camaraderie and support in vintage 2020 will be the most indelible memory. We are all so deeply interconnected and that is a gift.”
For real-time harvest photos and updates, visit the Napa Valley Vintners’ Harvest 2020 website at harvestnapa.com.
Watch now: Vines on Las Amigas Road before harvest