You'd be hard-pressed to find a person, plant, or animal who isn't affected by forest fires blazing through their home, and that includes local wineries. However, new developments are making it a little easier to tackle the consequences of the blazes.
The efforts are coming from the long stretch of wine country that lies on the western coastal states of the United States. In places like Oregon and California, local wineries have faced setback after setback as the annual forest fire season grows in intensity and length with each passing year. And as the damage becomes more extreme, some smaller businesses are facing the financial burden of a compromised grape harvest. "Imagine drinking some lemonade and pouring someone's ashtray into it," a winery owner explained to National Geographic. However, the widespread suffering has led to some important changes.
After the wine industry reported a whopping $3.7 billion in losses from last year's fires, the industry has come together to protect its crops. A new slew of testing centers has popped up all along the western wineries to provide more adequate testing, in addition to collecting research in order to track trends of grape contamination from the raging fires. In addition, scientists from the area are hoping to find a film to coat the grapes in that can protect them from smoke and debris. Overall, the efforts offer long-term band-aids to a concerning problem in the area.
California and Oregon fires aren't just a problem for vineyard owners. They devastate hundreds of communities and habitats each year. And until the underlying environmental concern is tackled, any effort will just be temporary. "Fire is currently number one, just because last year almost every region had some risk of exposure and the smoke was widespread," a local scientist explained. All that aside, dedicated craftspeople in the wine business have looked at some positives to help business. Turning the wine into brandy or even offering "smoked wine" to some adventurous wine lovers have just been some of the solutions thrown around the table.
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