It is no news that this year is a tough one. I think we can all agree we would like to just put 2020 to bed and open our eyes on January 1, 2021, with a new outlook, new prospects, a new beginning. But, we have three and a half months left of whatever the rest of 2020 will be, and sadly, another major loss is hitting our country in the form of fire.
I did a story on the fires just last week, and sadly, nothing has improved since then. We just received a note from a vineyard manager friend in the northwest that their entire 2020 vintage has been lost to smoke taint. I just got off a Zoom call with a winery in Sonoma where they too will leave the entire vintage on the vine as it makes no sense to pay to have ruined fruit picked. We have seen the pictures over the past several weeks and witnessed the destruction. Now, even though those fires may not be directly in the winemaking areas, the winds are carrying the smoke, spreading it over the area, leaving behind ash, soot, and sadness.
We can get into a debate over why these fires are happening, why they are occurring with such intensity and strength, and how our actions play a direct part in the welfare or demise of our climate.
But, as with many things this year, I am tired of trying to explain science when so many refuse to listen.
We can think that this doesn’t affect us, as we aren’t the farmers being hurt, and it is not our personal harvest lost, but we are wrong. Wines, along with a plethora of other crops affected by the smoke throughout the west coast, will become more expensive as the cost of doing basic business will go up. Considering where most of the fruits and vegetables that we eat in this country come from, America’s salad bowl is in the middle of the destruction.
My heart is broken for our friends and my beloved wine industry. 2020 had already crippled the wine community, especially for small producers that rely on direct to consumer sales right out of their shuttered tasting rooms. Some wineries that had opened with limited outdoor tasting opportunities have once again had to close, as just being outside for tasting is impossible with the haze in many areas. Another punch in the gut for 2020.
But, as I have an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, a constant for this year, I endure with my “glass (of wine) half-full” hope.
This is the year to have your voice heard. For whatever side you stand-by, make sure you use your rights and vote. Our earth, our lives, our wine depends on it.
And, if you have the means, support your favorite winery directly right now. Buying direct from the producer cuts out any additional handling costs, making sure the winery receives the most for your purchase. #Cheers and Mahalo