2020- the lost year
Growing and making wine encourages one to take the long view as each wine released represents years of planning and work. After a droughty winter and in full on COVID mode, we went into a hot summer growing season already on edge.
COVID, DROUGHT, and then FIRE
On August 17 we were awoken by a large clap of thunder sounding like a bomb right over our house, with a simultaneous flash of lighting. This was a remnant of Tropical Storm Fausto. Lighting hit the ground throughout the region, and one strike started a fire above Lake Hennessy which over the next several days merged with several others to form what is referred to now as the LNU Lightning Complex Fire, eventually burning over 305,000 acres east of Napa Valley. The smoke mostly drifted east, so we were optimistic the smoke would not affect our crop. But early Sunday morning on September 27 another fire started just across the Valley from us, near Glass Mountain. Called the Glass Fire, embers from the east side of the Valley drifted to the base of Spring Mountain and spread throughout the Mayacamas Range.
First we lost power and then cell service. By evening a neighbor pulled in to say fire was spreading to Diamond Mountain, and it was time to evacuate. When we returned 10 days later, unfinished dinner plates and partial wine glasses underscored how quickly we left. Our driveway was literally on the perimeter of the fire. It was sad to see clusters still hanging on the vines, with no possibility of making wine due to smoke effects, but at least the vineyard itself did not burn and lives to produce future vintages from the venerable vines.
In regards to the 2020 we’re definitely taking the long view!
~ Bill Dyer