Wildfires add more challenges to struggling California vineyards
Web Editor:國際日報 International Daily News
Wineries on the West Coast of the United States are suffering a lot from wildfires and a heatwave after attempting to recover from the financial hit brought by the coronavirus epidemic.
Workers of the vineyards in California are racing against the clock in an attempt to salvage grapes that can still make good wine as they missed the harvest season by several weeks due to high temperatures.
"This year the biggest issue between the heatwave and the fires, and then you throw in the COVID issue, was we had a significant decrease in production this year," said Tod Hickman, a vineyard owner.
This year's grape harvest season in many parts of the state were delayed initially because of the heatwave, but other regions were delayed due to wildfires and evacuations orders. In Hickman's vineyard alone, the owners say they've lost at least 50 percent of their crops, and the ash falling on the grapes could give a "smokey taint" to the wine yield.
"The smoke was low and there was lots of ash and you can actually see the ash on the grapes, that's a whole other issue. Then definitely I could see how there could be some taste, and some issues with that," said Hickman.
It's a small field-to-flask production with the distillery located adjacent to the harvest site. The bigger part of their business relies on agri-tourism, which has gone down significantly due to the epidemic.
"More than 75 percent of my business is down, because of the fact that we're not allow to have events, and people don't really come out for tastings because we were closed for a while, and we are now allowed to be open for outdoor tastings," said Alyse Hickman.
The epidemic, wildfires and climate conditions are transforming California's wine industry, and potentially reducing the number of bottles that will go on the market in coming months.