Wine prices expected to rise in N.D. following California wildfires

BISMARCK, N.D. - California Wildfires are scorching precious earth, leaving many vintners uncertain of the future of their crop or their homes.

“The hardest part is sort of, it’s a waiting game,” said Cecilia Hayne.

Cecilia Hayne, whose family owns one of the oldest vineyards in Napa Valley, counts herself as one of the lucky ones. But says a change of wind could engulf a hundred years of vintage vines.

“We’re right smack dab in the middle of the tubs fire in the north, and the atlas fire in the south, so those two could combine at some point, and we would be demolished,” said Hayne.

According to Cal Fire, as of Thursday, 21 individual wildfires have incinerated close to 200,000 acres. Much of that, is wine country.

Here in North Dakota, we’ll soon be feeling the effects of these fires -- by way of sticker shock.

“I’m guessing it’s probably about 75 to 80 percent of what we stock is from the California region” said Captian Jacks General Manager Marvin Sitter.

Sommelier Jeremiah Morehouse added:“ Certain wineries, they’re gone. Part of their properties have been damaged, part of their vineyards have been damaged.”

According Morehouse, a silver lining to this devastation is that most of the fruit from this year was harvested in August. But next year will be a different story.

“Wine's going to be less available, there’s going to be a scarcity, which naturally, economically speaking, means that prices, I envision will be increasing over the next couple years,” said Morehouse.

Morehouse estimates it will take the industry up to five years to recover from these catastrophic fires.