The Glass Fire has already burned over 55,500 acres and hot, dry, windy conditions threaten additional fire danger to California's Napa and Sonoma wine regions.
Cheryl Stanley is a lecturer in food and beverage management at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and an expert in food and beverage operations, specifically in the wine industry.
“The fires are absolutely devastating and will have known and unknown financial and environmental impacts for years to come. Tourism and the hospitality industry were struggling through COVID-19 but now this – the economic impact will be huge on multiple levels.
“The future of red wines in the 2020 harvest will be determined by the location of the vineyards and the amount of smoke taint. Some wineries might forgo certain wines produced from particular blocks, vineyards, or from certain grape growers, which will impact their quantity produced, selling price, and their bottom line. If grapes are not purchased, the economic impact down the line from grower to worker to community could be huge.
“Who knows in 2021 or 2022 what might be happening in the hospitality and economy when the 2020 vintage would be released in the market. Currently, restaurant or on-premise wine sales have decreased due to COVID-19. This is impacting certain wineries and brands that focused on the on-premise market. While some have tried to pivot to off-premise or retail, lower cash flow from decreased sales, and the impacts on the quantity produced in the 2020 harvest could be detrimental to the financial longevity of the winery.”