Smoke damage may lead to an extreme decline in wine grape production

Devastating fires on the West Coast may cause long-term damage to the nation’s wine supply.

As smoke continues to blanket across most of the western region of the nation, wine grape growers assess the damage of this year’s historic wildfires.

Oregon Wine Board’s Sally Murdoch says that there are worries of smoke damage in the midst of their state’s harvest.

According to Murdoch, “The data is largely anecdotal right now, but the 2020 fires and the ground-level smoke in many of the grape growing regions, with the cool weather that we experienced in June, shows that the grape vine development will be definitely reduced production this year.”

Wildfires have caused growers to test their grapes for contamination, and Murdoch says that due to the large number of samples, the results will take some time.

“We’re testing a lot of the grapes right now. So, with 908 wineries submitting their tests for smoke levels, there’s a backlog,” she adds. “We already knew that there would be fewer wine grape tons harvested this vintage for 2020 because of the cool June and because of some other factors, but the September wildfires will definitely compound the situation.”

She goes on to say that a cooler spring was already putting stress on production output. Wine Business reports that this could be the greatest natural-disaster-borne economic loss ever suffered by the wine industry in California, Oregon, and Washington.

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