Wildfires ravage California's wine country

Food and Beverage FOXBusiness

Future of California wine prices uncertain after devastating wildfires

Jordan Winery CEO John Jordan reacts to the California wildfires, which have ravaged Northern California, leaving at least 15 people dead so far and more than 1,500 homes and businesses destroyed.

A deadly inferno is engulfing California’s wine country as thousands are evacuating the region, while one of the Golden State’s biggest export businesses is under assault.

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The flames have torched more than 115,000 acres, killing 15 people and destroying more than 1,500 homes and businesses.

In an interview with FOX Business’ Liz Claman, Jordan Winery CEO John Jordan said the ashes and smoke generated from the wildfires will have an impact on next year’s crops.

“Fortunately, Cabernets and Merlot grapes tend to be thicker skinned grapes than say Chardonnay for example, a lot of your white variables and there are certain processes when they come in to the cellar to rid them from some of the smoke taint, but it remains to be seen exactly how much flavor degradation there will be,” he said.

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Wildfires have already cost the state $2 billion, making it the most expensive season on record. Industry analysts expect the fire engulfing California’s wine country region to have a ripple effect on both the wines and tourism. Last year alone, 3.5 million people visited Napa Valley generating $8.3 million in revenue.

“What people don’t realize is that Sonoma County and Napa County are wonderful places to visit and tourism, food and wine tourism has been a growing part of our economy and we never had anything like this happen,” Jordan said on “Countdown to the Closing Bell.”

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Replacing a single acre of the torched grapevines can cost the region’s winery owners as much as $25,000 for a vineyard.

Since it takes four years for his cabernets to go from harvest to release, Jordan said any price effect won’t be felt initially from the damages for a few years.

Sonoma and Napa counties are home to over 600 wineries with 100,000 acres of grapes impacted by the wildfires.

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