Sinskey: We will only make 600 cases of wine this year
Maria Sinskey of Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa says the estate will only bottle 600 cases of wine this year due to drought conditions and smoke taint.
While the family-owned Napa Valley estate escaped physical harm from the recent Glass fire, its grapes were significantly impacted by the resulting smoke.
Speaking to the drinks business, Sinskey said: “Unlike the fires of 2017, we were unaffected physically by the Glass fire, which seemed like the Armageddon.
“Thick smoke and ash hung in the air for several weeks. We only had a brief respite between the slowdown of the North Complex fires and the start of the Glass fire.
“The North Complex fire created heavy smoke and ash fall covering the majority of Napa Valley, which continued with the Glass fire. This ash created a thick coating on grape bunches, making it difficult to avoid any level of smoke taint.”
The harvest at Robert Sinskey Vineyards ended as early as 17 August. “We only had time to bring in the Pinot Noir for our Vin Gris of Pinot Noir rosé. All the other grapes were left unharvested due to smoke taint.
“We had already anticipated farming less due to drought conditions and a lack of water, and we were happy that this allowed us to escape what would have been for us an economic catastrophe.
“We were on track to make far less than our usual production this year. Our 2020 harvest will be 600 cases of rosé,” Sinskey said.
“While smoke taint won’t be an issue for us, I can’t say the same for others. It’s heartbreaking. At one point the wait for lab results for taint stretched out over 30 days. Vintners resorted to sending samples as far as Canada for results. In light of this, we consider ourselves very lucky,” she added.
Sinskey said the estate had to shut its tasting room for several weeks while the Glass fire was active, to keep roads clear for first responders. “That had a huge impact on our usually busy late summer/fall season, but the skies are now clear and we’re open for business,” Sinskey said.