Northern California wildfires having an impact on San Diego's wine industry

Wineries get emergency shipments to save grapes
Posted at 7:07 AM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-12 11:57:00-04

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) - As wildfires tear through Northern California's wine region, wineries in San Diego are doing everything they can to help save the crop and mitigate the damage to the area's booming wine industry.

Adam Carruth, who owns Carruth Cellars in Solana Beach, said he's getting emergency shipments from wineries to make sure the crop isn't ruined.

"I'm still expecting about 40 tons of grapes this fall," he said. "That's about a third of what we bring in."

Carruth said he's been in constant contact with his growers in Northern California. His first question is always about their personal safety. The condition of the grapes is secondary, but still important.

"I'm hoping for the best. Everything we've gotten so far is really high quality," Carruth added.

As of Wednesday, 21 people have died and 500 more are missing as 22 wildfires burn more than 170,000 acres across the state.

"The fact that i can get 4 tons of fruit here or there does not matter to anybody," said Carruth. "I'm just making sure that people are safe."

Carruth said his growers are all okay and have reported minimal damage to their vineyards, although at least one has lost a home.

Even if the vines are okay, the grapes could still be damaged.

"I got fruit that was picked yesterday, from Dry Creek, and there weren't fires," he said. "But there could be an issue with something called 'Smoke Taint.'"

That would ruin the flavor of the wine. He'll have to send grapes from each batch off to a lab to test for it.

"It's kind of ironic, because my barrels are charred to add a smoky flavor," he said.