“The entire 2017 harvest is no longer”: Wildfires take heavy toll on wine country


SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The wildfires in California have taken a heavy toll in wine country, CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal reports.

At the Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, the scent of singed-wine overpowers the stench of charred wood.

For Rene Byck and his family, the smells are a lingering reminder of how much they lost in a matter of hours.

“These tanks were filled with sauvignon blanc,” Byck says. “The entire 2017 harvest is no longer.”

Two years of work and nearly 100,000 bottles of wine were destroyed Sunday night. Before they lost power, surveillance cameras from inside the winery’s wedding venue caught the fire creeping closer.

For more than 40 years, this is where the family’s wine was made. The wine industry in Sonoma and Napa Valley employs more than 50,000 people and at least six other wineries have been burned to the ground.

“It’s our business, not our house. A lot of people lost their homes, so I think we can rebuild this,” Byck says.

The Golden Hills of Sonoma County are now colored black. Every single building on one property was burned.

“We’re supposed to be receiving an award for the best wedding venue in Sonoma County,” Byck says.

But the sweetest part of their business — rows of grapevines — were left behind.

“Looking at what I’m looking at, I want to say, next year, we should be able to harvest grape,” he says.

And that’s what is helping them moving them forward.

“I’m amazed the vineyards are still here,” Byck said.

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