Federal disaster aid bill would compensate farmers for wine grape crops damaged by West Coast wildfires

Nation/world
Somerston Estate Winery & Vineyards in St. Helena Calif., seen above on Sept. 30, 2020, was among the many wineries that did not produce a 2020 vintage due to the wildfire season.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Somerston Estate Winery & Vineyards in St. Helena Calif., seen above on Sept. 30, 2020, was among the many wineries that did not produce a 2020 vintage due to the wildfire season.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Wine grapes damaged by smoke are among the crops covered under a $28.6-billion disaster assistance bill for states ravaged by wildfire, drought or hurricanes.

Thick smoke from some of the worst wildfire seasons in history tainted grape harvests in wineries in California, Oregon and Washington between 2017 and 2020. Grapes are damaged when volatile phenols released by burning wood are absorbed at a higher than usual levels and the flavor is affected.

Some California winemakers didn’t make a 2020 vintage after their crops were burned or tainted by smoke, and similar problems are expected because of this year’s fires.

The disaster assistance includes up to $10 billion for various crops nationwide damaged by disasters in 2020 or 2021.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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