Even for vineyards miles away from the flames, a wildfire can ruin a vintage.READ MORE: California Dodges Outages During Heat Wave But EV Owners Push Grid Capacity
“Smoke can create smoke-taste, which lives in the skins of the grapes – and if nothing is done to the grapes it can make your wine kind of taste like a barbecue,” Kim Stemler, Executive Director of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association told KCBS.
But, Stemler says the good news for growers is that it’s early in the season.READ MORE: Willow Fire Grows To 1,800 Acres Near Big Sur, Evacuations Ordered
“The grapes haven’t gone through veraison yet, and veraison is where grapes turn colors. After veraison, the skins are much more susceptible to smoke taint,” Stemler said.
At least one vineyard has been destroyed by the fire. Big Sur Vineyards lost a small estate, but Stemler says the wine community has already been banding together for fundraisers.MORE NEWS: Brush Fire Burns 20 Acres Near Fairfield, Temporarily Closes Southbound Lanes of I-680
“Although Big Sur and Carmel Valley have some smoke, the rest of the area is OK, and we’re actually open for business,” Stemler said.