While 2020 has been challenging for us all, wineries in Napa Valley have continued to perform their annual harvest and winemaking activities as usual despite the pandemic and raging fires in the region. Similarly, wineries in Sonoma County’s wine-producing areas are once again operating at capacity.

The 2020 Grape Harvest

Speculation regarding the potential impact of the widespread fires surrounding some parts of Napa and Sonoma wine regions has been substantial. While a few wineries were directly affected, an estimated 80%  in Napa Valley and Sonoma County are producing their 2020 vintage as planned.

Some weeks before expected harvest, many wineries feared that the locally grown grapes could be affected by “smoke taint,” a chemical condition brought on by excessive exposure to smoke. One St. Helena laboratory, ETS, has been overwhelmed with samples to determine which vineyards may have been affected. The testing involves analyzing the grapes and their subsequent juice to determine the presence of specific smoke impact markers. Since excessive smoke taint can affect the ultimate wine flavor, winemakers are carefully selecting the raw material that will produce the highest quality finished products.

Once the fermentation is complete, area winemakers can better assess whether the fire conditions have, in fact, negatively impacted their wines.

It is important to note that some earlier grape varieties for sparkling, white, and a few red wines were harvested before the smoke had become substantial.

Customers of wineries in Sonoma and Napa Valley can be confident, however, that the 2020 vintages will be excellent, perhaps in slightly reduced quantities. If not, the winemakers will not risk their reputations by putting their labels on substandard wines.

Touring Wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma Wine Country

Life goes on in Napa Vally Wine Country, no matter what challenges arise. The fires are out, pandemic protocols are in place, and over 450 Sonoma and Napa wineries are operating.

One company, Platypus Wine Tours of Napa, offers private and group wine country tours while observing strict CDC-compliant Covid-19 protocols. All guests and associates will be properly masked and socially-distanced both in transit and while visiting the wineries. Vehicle interiors and other contact surfaces will be regularly sanitized, and the company will provide a container of sanitizer for each customer to use during the tour.

Upon arrival at each winery, guests will be seated at tables for proper social distancing, and masks can be removed to taste and enjoy the excellent wines.

And, because of social distancing, group tours are smaller. As a result, you will enjoy more space for safety and a higher level of personal attention during the tour.

Platypus Wine Tours are available seven days of the week.

Typical tours include visits to three top quality wineries, picnic lunch, bottled water, tasting discounts, and a well-informed, professional tour guide.

Make your reservations for your personal, group, or join-in Wine Country Tour of wineries in Sonoma and Napa Valley by visiting the Platypus Wine Tour website.

If you have questions, you can phone one of the Platypus Wine Tour reservationists at (707)-253-2723 or email at info.platypustours.com.