Wildfires destroy Northern California wineries

Metal racks sagging with dozens of blackened bottles were among the smoldering remains of a Napa Valley winery destroyed by wildfires that raced through a region famous for its fine food and drink.

The bottles were empty, sucked dry of wine. Some wine barrels were intact, as well as a swimming pool and chairs, but otherwise, the Signorello Estate winery structure was gone.

Throughout Northern California’s wine country, vintners able to get to property surveyed the damage to vineyards, tasting rooms and storage while others had to wait patiently for flames to die down.

At the Gundlach Bundschu in Sonoma County, workers were not sure the grapes above the winery survived a second night of fires that have destroyed at least two wineries and damaged more.

“We haven’t been able to go up and assess the vine damage,” said Katie Bundschu, vice president of sales. “We’re in the process of salvaging what we can.”

Speedy, wind-driven wildfires that started Sunday came as workers in Napa and Sonoma counties were picking and processing ripe grapes to make chardonnay, merlot and other wines that have made the region a global hot spot. Millions of locals and out-of-staters flock to the counties every year to sample wine, sit in mud baths and soak in the region’s natural beauty.

At least five wineries belonging to members have had “complete losses” in facilities, with another nine reporting some damage, said Michael Honig, board chairman of the Napa Valley Vintners trade association and president of Honig Vineyard & Winery. He said the group has not heard from all members, especially those in the most vulnerable parts of the valley.

“That’s been the biggest problem — the information — you can’t access these areas,” he said. “We don’t have a good idea of how the vineyards have been impacted.”

He said the good news is that most of the valley had picked 90 percent of the crop for 2017. Most of the remaining fruit, he said, are thicker-skinned cabernet sauvignon grapes that won’t be affected by smoke. (AP)

See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.

A winery in Santa Rosa

A wildfire burns behind a winery Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif. Fire crews made progress this week in their efforts to contain the massive wildfires in California wine country, but officials say strong winds are putting their work to the test. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)

Workers harvest a vineyard near Oakville

Workers harvest a vineyard as smoke from a massive wildlife fills the air near Oakville, Calif ,Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Vineyards in Napa County

The Atlas Fire burns east of Woodley Canyon Rd near vineyards late Tuesday evening in Napa County, in this long exposure image on Oct. 10, 2017. (Photo: Stuart Palley via ZUMA Wire)

Sterling Vineyards

Sterling Vineyards, just south of Calistoga, is seen through a haze of smoke on Thursday morning, the result of various wildfires Napa, Calif., on Oct. 12, 2017. (Photo: Napa Valley Register via ZUMA Wire)

Signarello Estate Winery

The remains of the fire damaged Signarello Estate Winery after an out of control wildfire moved through the area on Oct. 9, 2017 in Napa, Calif. Tens of thousands of acres and hundreds of homes and businesses have burned in widespread wildfires that are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Signorello Estate Winery before the fire

Signorello Estate Winery in Napa Valley, Calif., before the fire, on July 28, 2012. (Photo: Jim G via Flickr)

Evacuees sip wine at Sonoma Raceway

Evacuees Ron Vitt, 75, left, and Ellen Brantley, 65, enjoy an evening at Sonoma Raceway sipping wine as smoke from several wildfires fills the sky Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, in Sonoma, Calif. They celebrated their 29th anniversary Sunday, Oct. 8. Their home is okay, so far. (Photo: Janie Har/AP)

Signarello Estate Winery

The Signorello Estate Winery burns in the Napa wine region in Calif., on Oct. 9, 2017, as multiple wind-driven fires continue to whip through the region. (Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP/Getty Images)

Signarello Estate Winery

The fire-ravaged Signorello Estate Winery is seen through a window Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through Northern California sending residents on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames as homes burned. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Signarello Estate Winery

The remains of the fire damaged Signarello Estate Winery after an out of control wildfire moved through the area on Oct. 9, 2017 in Napa, Calif.(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Signarello Estate Winery

A pair of Napa County firemen walk through the remains of the Signorello Estate Winery Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Worried California vintners surveyed the damage to their vineyards and wineries Tuesday after wildfires swept through several counties whose famous names have become synonymous with fine food and drink. (Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)

Signarello Estate Winery

The remains of burned bottles of wine are seen at the Signorello Estate Winery Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Napa, Calif. (Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)

Signarello Estate Winery

The remains of the fire damaged Signarello Estate Winery after an out of control wildfire moved through the area on Oct. 9, 2017 in Napa, Calif. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Wildfires in the Sonoma Valley

Smoke from wildfires in the Sonoma Valley makes its way toward the Napa Valley, in this view from the Carneros wine region, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Napa, Calif. (Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)

Burned grave vine

Grapes hang from a burned grave vine on Oct. 10, 2017 in Glen Ellen, Calif. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Gundlach Bundschu Winery

An out of control wildfire approaches Gundlach Bundschu Winery on Oct. 9, 2017 in Sonoma, California. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Gundlach Bundschu Winery

The driveway to Gundlach Bundschu Winery is seen in Sonoma, Sonoma Valley, California, early morning summer, 2009. (Photo: George Rose/Getty Images)

Gundlach Bundschu Winery

A sign tells people that the historic Gundlach Bundschu Winery is still standing, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in this view near Sonoma, Calif. Workers in Northern California’s renowned wine country picked through charred debris and weighed what to do with pricey grapes after wildfires swept through lush vineyards and destroyed at least two wineries and damaged many others. (Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)

Gundlach Bundschu Winery

Angela Pardo works at the main entrance gate to the Gundlach Bundschu Winery Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Sonoma, Calif. (Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)

Fire glows on a hillside in Napa

Fire glows on a hillside in Napa, Calif., on Oct. 9, 2017, as multiple wind-driven fires continue to whip through the region. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Nicholson Ranch vineyards

The entrance sign to Nicholson Ranch vineyards, which was consumed by fires in Sonoma, Calif., Oct. 10 2017. (Photo: John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Nicholson Ranch vineyards

The entrance sign to Nicholson Ranch vineyards, which was consumed by fires in Sonoma, Calif., Oct. 10 2017. (Photo: John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country

Smoke continues to rise from the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country on Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa, Calif. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

William Hill Estate Winery

The William Hill Estate winery sign is seen partially burnt in Napa, California on Oct., 9, 2017, as multiple wind-driven fires continue to whip through the region. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Paradise Ridge Winery

Owner Rene Byck looks over remains of his Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, California, on Oct. 10, 2017. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Paradise Ridge Winery

Damaged wine making vats and tanks due to a wildfire stand in ashes and debris at the production house of Paradise Ridge Winery on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, Calif. (Photo: Ben Margot/AP)

Paras Vinyards

The main building at Paras Vinyards burns in the Mount Veeder area of Napa in Calif., on Oct. 10, 2017. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Chateau St. Jean wWinery

A fire truck makes its way through the Chateau St. Jean winery, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Kenwood, Calif. (Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)

Satellite view of wildfires in Northern California

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a natural-color image of the smoke billowing from wildfires in northern California on Oct. 9, 2017. Parts of Northern California have been ravaged by intense and fast-burning wildfires that broke out on Oct. 8, 2017. Blazes that started on a few hundred acres around Napa Valley were fanned by strong northeasterly winds, and by Oct. 10, the 14 fires had consumed as much as 100,000 acres (150 square miles) of land. States of emergency have been declared in Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, and Mendocino counties, and thousands of people were asked to evacuate. (Photo: Joshua Stevens, using MODIS data from LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response/NASA)

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes