Wildfires again threaten business in California wine country

APTOPIX California Wildfires
Posted at 5:29 PM, Aug 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-30 20:40:29-04

HEALDSBURG, Calif. (AP) — Wildfire has been cruel to Northern California wine country lately.

Major fires during three of the past four years have charred vineyards, burned down a historic winery and sent plumes of smoke above the neatly tended rows of vines that roll across the scenic hills.

While the majority of vineyards, winemaking facilities and tasting rooms that lure tourists have escaped damage, the perception that the area is on fire yet again has not helped business.

The LNU Lightning Complex, which includes the Hennessey, Gamble, 15-10, Spanish, Markley, 13-4, 11-16, and Walbridge fires, had burned at least 375,209 acres. Over the last 12 days, the fires have torn through Napa, Sonoma, and Solano counties. As of Sunday, the blaze was 56% contained.

Add restrictions on winery tastings and dining during the coronavirus pandemic and winemakers say they are reeling.