CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 15 Classics - Page 26

Where There’s Smoke Wine Country Fires: A Napa Winemaker’s Perpective BY TIMOTHY KEITH What do you say? Natural disasters suck. In the year of natural and unnatural dis- asters, I find myself grasping at straws, saying aloud, “Is it 2018 yet?” No, it is not 2018 yet, and the SS Minnow that is 2017 still limps along, and with all that doom and gloom portended, the 2017 vintage is not and will not be the Titanic, and this region that is so much more than just a wine industry will bounce back. On the 8th of October, in the year of someone’s lord, 2017, I had just finished a standard 14-hour work day and was soundly tucked away in bed, dreaming of pressing off some of my last tanks and more than likely keeping my love awake with standard TK snoring. At approximately 10:38 in the evening I was awoken, not by the typical anxiety driven, “I forgot to wash out that valve!” fever, but by my girlfriend very calmly saying, “There’s a fire on the hillside, my parents are c oming here, they’ve been evacuated.” Shuffling through the covers and trying to determine the severity of this statement but also stay comfy if this is really just a false alarm, I eventually grasped the moment. At about 11:00 p.m. our cozy cottage in downtown Napa was at Defcon 1. Between police scanner feeds online, Twitter, messages from friends, and the local news the realization that this wasn’t just “precautionary” or “isolated.” From about 12-3 a.m. is a bit of mish-mash, with propane explosions being heard in the distance, smoke turning from pleasant campfire into, “Well, this fucking sucks” and my own personal selfishness worrying, “Is this going to disrupt tomorrows work schedule?” At about 5 a.m. I woke up, whispered to my hopeful fu- ture in-laws, “Sorry the couch smells like wine and dude” and headed to the winery not knowing if I could get there or if it would even be there. It was there. Thank Jeebus it was there. With that said the air smelled like a campsite run by pyroma- niacs who think tonight’s bonfire can be even big- ger! It’s Monday morning, not that it matters in the parlance of “harvest” but our winery does make the wines of multiple brands and labels and ensuring their protection is clearly paramount. Thankfully our winery was safe that morning, now on to ensure the safety of the ferments that are ongoing. Here’s where some marketing hack or PR “rep” is supposed to take over and give you the warm and fuzzy version of everything that’s happened. That’s not going to be me. I’m going to give an account of what I did, and what I’ve seen recommended, and the information that I’ve learned or read by people much smarter than me. So, what did I do? I DUMPED ALL MY WINE DOWN THE DRAIN!!! WE’RE DONE FOR, I’M MOVING TO ICELAND BE- CAUSE THE FLIGHTS ARE SO CHEAP RIGHT NOW! Just kidding. My protocol was to close all the ferments (ironically, they all already were) and let’s wait out this shit.