>> California's high end vintners rushing to pick end of the harvest grapes and save this year's production from one of the worst wildfires that has ravaged the wine country. Blazes have destroyed or damaged at least 16 wineries in Napa Valley and trade groups say many more there and in neighboring Sonoma Valley are unreachable due to spreading flames.
Reuter's reporter Alexandria Sage is in Sonoma County.>> I've spoken to a few people who work in the vineyards who are trying to salvage the millions of dollars of wine that are still in tanks. They need fuel, they need fuel for generators, so that they can control the temperature of this wine.
It's all a big rush to salvage what they can from these horrible fires.>> California wine makers last year shipped 238 million cases of wine within the United States worth $34 billion. It's not yet clear what the wildfire impact will be. One silver lining though, recent heatwaves in the region forced many vineyards to speed up their harvest, leaving just 10% of their fruit on the vine.
An expert said the vines themselves don't burn easily and in some cases may have blocked fires from spreading in recent days.>> Most of the underbrush around me has burned. Most of the vineyards themselves seemed to be safe although there are plenty of wineries. The actually property, the wineries have been completely burnt to the ground.
That said, people aren't sure about the quality of the grapes that remain on the vines. The smoke could alter the taste.>> Many of the grapes that have yet to be picked in Napa and Sonoma are Cabernet Sauvignon. And one expert says smoke could create a flavor ranging from camp fire to cigarette butts and ash.