Devastating fires burning through Wine Country could have a lasting effect

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 05:45PM
As the deadly fires rage through Northern California in Fresno, people in the wine business

FRESNO, Calif. - As the deadly fires rage through Northern California-- in Fresno, people in the wine business are scrambling to keep up with the devastation.

"Bunch of people in the industry lost their homes, harvest is at a halt," said President of Allied Grape Growers Nat Dibduo.

Dibduo is connected to 122 members up north, he says some of those destroyed homes belong to them and some of the wineries they work with have been damaged or burned to the ground.

"It affects my family, these are my brothers up there and sisters and it makes me concerned, makes it personal."

Aside from the flames, there is smoke and ash, drifting across vineyards. Miles away this could affect the quality of grapes still hanging on the vine and ultimately, the flavor of wine. It is late in the harvest season and Dibduo says the impact will be limited.

"They're full and their appetite is complete so I'm not seeing a need for excess grapes at this point."

He is much more concerned about any loss of business -- a winery, especially a smaller one, not connected to a chain.

"When they're gone, they're gone and not only are they gone, all of their employees are gone. The growers that go to that winery are gone -- the field workers. It affects a whole chain."

It is a ripple effect that could hurt some for years. Dibuduo says it is too early to predict but the potential is very real.
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