Saturday, May 24, 2008

Vineyards affected by the fire

Day three of the fire, and it's now claimed more land than the 2002 Croy fire. Latest CDF reports indicate 3,400 acres consumed, with only 25% containment. There is fog and light showers forecast for today, which certainly won't hurt, but I doubt that it'll make that much difference. My heart goes out to the almost 3,000 (and counting) brave fire fighters who will spend this Memorial Day weekend saving lives, livelihoods and memories, and also to those who have lost everything. The CDF report that at last count 17 residences and 11 "commercial buildings" have been destroyed.

The fire took hold in a sparsely populated area - as you can see, with over 3,400 acres destroyed less than 30 buildings were affected, but I have heard of a few small vineyards that are in the fire area. As I get more information I will update this post. There are many small vineyards scattered all over the mountains - a partial list is here.

Click on the links for the Google map locations of the vineyards.

Believed Destroyed

Kenneth Kim Vineyard
This is a small winery that I hadn't heard of until I read reports on A 20 acre property planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, producing a wine called "Cult". I can't find any records at all of this winery (though there is a similarly named property in Korea) so it may be that the winery hadn't officially released yet.


Reed's Vineyard
This 10 acre vineyard was planted with Tempranillo and Syrah and is managed by Paul Romero of Stefania Wine. The vineyard is very close to the fire - about 200-300 yards away, but in their blog Paul says that there's a good firebreak cleared around the property. The owner, Reed Wilburn was quoted in an interview in the San Jose Mercury News today. He is safe and well, and is working as a volunteer firefighter along Pole Line Road.

Windy Oaks
The fire has been heading south east towards Windy Oaks since it started and is less than a mile away. The winery is on the other side of Hazel Dell Road, which will hopefully act as a fire break; furthermore most of the winery and warehouse is metal and in a cleared area. Jim and Judy have been mailing out status updates to their friends and customers, and are prepared to evacuate if necessary.

Woodruff Vineyard
This is a 9 acre vineyard, mostly Pinot but with some Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer. I helped prune that vineyard earlier this year. It's located to the south of Windy Oaks and is surrounded by farmland, so is probably more defensible than Windy Oaks. The grapes have been used by Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards in the past, but are now managed by Paul Romero.

Muns Vineyard
Ed Muns' Pinot vineyard is located about 3 miles down Loma Prieta Road, due west of the point where the fire is believed to have started. With the fire mainly travelling to the south east it's looking safe, for now at least.

Erwin's Vineyard
A four acre Pinot Noir vineyard that has been used by Clos LaChance since 1997

Split Rail Vineyard
Another Pinot Noir vineyard, located at an elevation of 1,700 feet. The fruit has been used by David Bruce and Clos LaChance.

Legan Vineyard
The Legan vineyard is located in the south west part of the mountains, near Watsonville. It is another Pinot Noir vineyard, used by Clos LaChance.