by Henry Lutz
Fearing erosion of their land this winter, Napans took to the Napa Valley Expo on Wednesday morning for the promise of free supplies and advice courtesy of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and a cadre of county offices for the first Erosion Control Community Fair.
Pallets of straw wattles were stacked high and up for grabs along with stakes, mulch, seed mixes, gloves, boots, tarps and other erosion control trappings, while the county’s Ag Commissioner’s Office, Planning Department, Resource Conservation District and other authorities offered their expertise to those working to tackle the looming threat of erosion in the wake of the October wildfires.
by Garrett Buckland, President, Napa Valley Grapegrowers
To grow grapes in Napa Valley is to engage in a longstanding tradition. For nearly two centuries, Napa Valley farmers have worked with fertile volcanic soils and a unique climate, perfect for grapegrowing and agriculture of all kinds.
Records show that commercial vineyards began to be planted as early as the 19th century, and right away, Napa Valley wines were renowned for their quality. Even through trying times including Prohibition, natural disasters, and the relentless march of urban sprawl, agriculture has maintained its prominent position as an integral part of life in the Napa Valley.
by Register Staff
Napa Valley Grapegrowers said their members would be following recommended safety practices as they consider how or if to harvest grapes in fire-affected areas.
The Napa County Agricultural Commissioner, Napa County Public Health and OSHA have all supplied guidelines for how the harvest can continue once an area is safe for workers to re-enter.
by Geoffrey Mohan
Christian Palmaz used hoes, shovels and rakes to keep flames from his family’s 19th-century vineyard estate home on the flanks of Mt. St. George in eastern Napa County.
But he didn’t have to worry about his vines. They’re green, very much alive, and a stark contrast to more than 500 acres of oak, manzanita and grassland charred by the Atlas fire as it tore across Palmaz’s property.
by Kathy Steinmetz
Napa winemaker Clayton Kirchhoff drove down a winding road this week, past singed power lines swinging in the air and houses that had been reduced to little more than rubble beside a swimming pool. Farmers on one property counted their sheep to see how many were left, as big silver tankers carted wine out of the area, one of many in California that had been ravaged by fire since Sunday night. Kirchhoff, who lost his home in the flames, was headed for White Rock Vineyards, an estate where grapes have been grown since before Prohibition — and where, on Wednesday morning, flames were still licking smoldering tree stumps. Right now it "feels like everything is in slow motion," he says.