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2018-10-01 / Wine Notes

Rising from the Ashes



It was a year ago that wildfires spread throughout California’s wine country, forging a path of death and destruction that topped anything the state had previously experienced.  The smoke and ash were so thick they could be seen from space.  When the flames finally subsided, the toll — human and structural — was devastating.

The resiliency of the people who live and work in this area of the country is nothing short of astonishing.  They have lived through floods and earthquakes — and now wildfires — yet they soldier on, pick up the pieces of their lives and livelihoods, and move forward.  That is exactly what has happened in wine country.

Signorello Chardonnays and Cabernets are available as a special order (SLO) through the state store.  Here are some other wineries that also sustained some fire damage and whose product is available locally.Signorello Chardonnays and Cabernets are available as a special order (SLO) through the state store. Here are some other wineries that also sustained some fire damage and whose product is available locally.If you visit the area today, it’s hard to imagine this region was engulfed in flames and thick smoke just a short year ago.  But, if you look closely, there are some reminders.  The mountaintops on certain peaks are singed and barren where there once was dense forest.  As one winery manager characterized it, the fires were a way for nature to cleanse itself.  Indeed, the chaparral that chokes the mountainsides in so much of California serves as a ready accelerant for wildfires, and the flames do clear out that brush.

Remarkably, the damage to vineyards and wineries was not as bad as it could have been given the magnitude of the fires, although nearly a dozen sadly did experience losses ranging from moderate damage to total destruction.  Most are rebuilding.

Signorello Estates on Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail lost its entire winery in the fire.  Though the structure burned to the ground, the Signorello family has put up a temporary tasting room on the premises while a new winery is under construction and are welcoming visitors to sample their wines (most wineries store wines in off-site warehouses, so the product wasn’t touched by fire).  The new facility will include underground caves for aging wines as well as a commercial kitchen to enhance the food and wine pairing experience the winery likes to showcase.

The people of wine country deserve a respite from natural disasters, and the rest of us can continue to show our support by drinking the region’s wines. •SCM



Gundlach Bundschu Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2014
(#32148, $36.99
A medium-bodied Pinot Noir with classic notes of black cherry and strawberry.
William Hill Red Blend Napa Valley 2013
(#32558, $29.99)
Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah comprise the bulk of the blend with Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec finishing it out.


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