California:Apocalypse by fire

A drought record that turns the ground into a giant match. Strong winds that stir up the flames. Firefighters who lack material resources in the face of proliferation of forest fires. Anna Caidan gives an account of a wine region ravaged by the flames.
There was a tragedy in the world of wine. These tragedies happen very rarely, but when they do, they stagger the entire world of wines.
2017-12-01
Wine story

The cradle of New World wines

California alone accounts for 85% of US wine production. To put it simply, this cradle of New World wines produces a style quite different from our European standards: a more present sweetness in red wines, creamier with woody tones in whites, and fruit predominant in all colours. One can reproach them for being too seductive, they have the advantage of being immediately agreeable to the palate. California also knows how to create complex and chiselled wines at prices that are equivalent to the great Bordeaux and Burgundy wines.

The fate of several areas that were threatened by fire remains uncertain. In October the California Forest Service recorded 17 fires in the wine-growing areas, including the Kenwood and Glen Ellen towns and the Carneros region. The thick smoke that covered the area could also greatly have damaged crops that were not harvested, giving the wine a very unpleasant taste of campfire. These fires are a blow to the US wine industry, which is largely concentrated in California. The regions of Napa and Sonoma where fires raged, were the pinnacle of this activity. Major groups like E & J Gallo, Constellation, Wine Group or Jackson, many investors, especially French, have focused on these quality terroirs. Thus, Opus One, one of the most prestigious wineries in the Napa area, a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and the group Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the Champagne houses Taittinger, Roederer, the Moet Hennessy group with Newton, Bernard Magrez and many others are there.

One anticipates an overall reduced performance from all 60,000 hectares of vineyards on the north coast of California. Viticulture generates 46,000 local jobs, more than $ 13 billion in revenue in Napa County alone - $50 billion in the United States - and attracts 3.5 million tourists to the region each year.

It remains to be seen what the impact on these will be.

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