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Crisis Response

January 2018

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As the threat from wildfires subsides, California communities now face the daunting task of healing.

For many communities across California, tourism serves as their lifeblood. So when natural disasters strike, destinations must respond in real time with information for visitors and media, as well as surrounding communities. 

Many residents and businesses, even those not directly impacted by devastating Fall 2017 fires that sprung up across the state, lost weeks of work as fires forced evacuations and road closures. Inspiring travelers to visit in 2018 will help these communities recover.

“We are incredibly grateful for the work of first responders who fought to save these communities, and we are relieved that firefighters have gained the upper hand,” said Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta. “Now we need to do our part to help the recovery.”

Northern California's Wine Country region has more than 1,200 wineries, and fewer than 10 were heavily damaged in October 2017 fires. And vintners expect the 2017 vintage to be excellent — 90 percent of this year’s grapes were harvested before the fires struck.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How have the fires impacted Northern California wine businesses? 
The region is home to more than 1,200 wineries and fewer than 10 were heavily damaged by the fires. All but a few have already reopened. Up-to-date information on businesses can be found at www.sonomacounty.com/openforbiz and www.visitnapavalley.com/emergency/.

Q. How much of the wine region will I be able to visit? 
In Napa County, the fires burned predominantly in the forested hillsides, leaving the iconic Napa Valley floor, located between Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail, unaffected. In Sonoma County, the Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys were untouched by fire.

Q. How is the region’s wine production impacted? 
The summer of 2017 was particularly long and hot and by the time the fires hit, around 90% of the wine grapes had already been harvested. These grapes, and the wine that will come from them, will not be affected. Vintners are optimistic that the 2017 vintage will be excellent. The remaining 10% of grapes were generally thicker-skinned varietals that are more resilient to the fire conditions. It’s too soon to tell if there will be any impact. According to the California Wine Institute, except in areas where the speed and intensity of the fires was greatest, vineyards did not burn due to their high moisture content and in some cases helped to surrounding structures.

Q. Is it insensitive to visit California, given the devastation of some areas? 
Tourism is key to the recovery process. As the threat of the fires subsides, communities are welcoming visitors with open arms to come and experience one of the best times of year to be in the region. Hotels are ready for reservations. Tasting rooms are staffed and open for business. These businesses need your help

Digital Assets

View our California Wine Country image gallery.
View our Southern California region image gallery.

 

Related Documents

Download the documents below to learn more about crisis response efforts.

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