Napa Valley vineyards struggle during PG&E shutoffs

Bay Area

NAPA (KRON) – The PG&E blackout is very difficult for Napa Valley vineyards.

Now is the time of year the grapes are being harvested and turned into wine.

No power means that the process comes to a hard stop.

With PG&E turning off the power, it has been a scramble to not lose any product for vintners.

At Boeschen Vineyards, just north of Saint Helena, a second blackout is difficult to swallow. 

There are no grapes left on the vines and the last of them were quickly harvested early Wednesday morning before the power went off.

“This is by far 1000% the worst time of year because the grapes are coming in,” Doug Boeschen said.

At Boeschen Vineyards, the newly harvested grapes now sit in crates, waiting for the next phase.

It is almost impossible to make its brand of Cabernet Sauvignon without power.

“We’re in a holding pattern with the rest of it until the power comes back on, Boeschen said.

The full tanks are chilling where the grapes can stay safely for a few days with no power.

After that, it becomes a question if the blackout will impact the final product.

“The wine better darn well taste the same yeah,” Boeschen said.

After the power went out the first time a few weeks ago, the general manager bought flashlights and a small generator to prepared.

If the PG&E blackouts continue, owning an industrial generator could be next.

An expense that is hard to swallow

“The wine is going to be our first priority so if that means paying more to make sure that we have the infrastructure to make it happen, I guess that feels like the cost of doing business in California,” Boeschen said. 

Without power, this vineyard will do as much as it can Thursday in the dark.

Overall, they are much happier with PG&E’s communication this time because during harvest every moment is critical in making the best product. 

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