California wildfires destroy Malibu vineyards

The latest bout of wildfires in California – the deadliest and most destructive on record – have destroyed vines and wineries in the fledgling Malibu Coast AVA.

As reported by Wine Spectator, the Woolsey fire has swept from Thousand Oaks down to the Pacific Coast, scorching vineyards and destroying wineries in the process.

Among the wine companies affected by the fires are wine tour organiser Malibu Discovery, whose Malibu Grapes tasting room burned down in the blaze. Owner Ken Fasola told WS that it may be up to a year until the roads into the hills can be travelled again.

“The speed with which the fire escalated was terrifying. There has been extensive damage to virtually all the vineyards and wineries throughout the AVA,” Greg Barnett, president of the Malibu Coast Vintners & Grape Growers Alliance, told WS. Barnett owns Nabu winery in Westlake Village.

Actor Gerard Butler is among the celebrities to lose his home to the fires

Several winemakers told Wine Spectator that their vineyards served as firebreaks, saving their homes and wineries from destruction.

Power is out in most of the Malibu Coast AVA and many roads remain closed.

Created in 2014, the Malibu Coast AVA is one of California’s newer appellations. The area spans 44,590 acres within the Santa Monica National Recreational Area in Southern California.

According to firefighting agency Cal Fire, the Woolsey fire has spread across 97,000 acres and destroyed over 435 structures. The fire is currently only 40% contained. Dry conditions and high winds have helped the fires to spread.

The fires have thus far claimed the lives of 56 people and ravaged over 10,000 structures including homes belonging to celebrities Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth and Gerard Butler.

The Woolsley and Camp fires began on 8 November in Ventura County and Butte County. The latter is the deadliest California wildfire on record.

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