California’s Sonoma wine country reckons with wildfire damage to tourism economy

in Environment/Local Roundup

SONOMA, Calif. — As ash settles from the recent wildfires in one of the world’s most recognizable wine regions, the battle-tested vintners now face another problem – discouraged tourists.

The wildfires in California’s Sonoma County are among the largest and most intense in the state’s history. Fortunately for the wineries, the fires came at the close of the harvest this year and most of the grapes were saved. But that might not matter so much.

“The real damage from the fires isn’t on the harvest, it’s on the economy,” said Rob McMillan, executive vice president and founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s wine division. “From a tourism standpoint, people will choose not to come to the vineyards.”
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