Wine Grape Harvest Kicks Off in Napa County

The new season comes roughly 10 months after wildfires ravaged the North Bay, leaving 44 people dead and thousands of homes destroyed

Roughly 10 months after wind-whipped wildfires devastated Northern California's wine country region, the latest wine grape harvest kicked off for at least one winery in Napa County Wednesday morning.

Workers took to the Muir-Hanna Vineyard at day break to pluck the first grapes of the season for Mumm Napa, one of several wineries situated in the world-famous wine making region.

While the fires left 44 people dead and wiped out thousands of homes across the North Bay and wine country, the flames mostly spared wineries throughout Napa County.

The wildfires burned less than 14 percent of Napa County and did not ravage the Napa Valley floor where most wineries are located. To boot, roughly 90 percent of the grape harvest had already wrapped up before the fires ignited in early October.

"It was traumatic last year," Bill Hanna, a grape grower for Mumm Napa, said. "We were completely harvested here when the fires broke out, but it was still nerve racking. We had flames within a mile and a half of us up Dry Creek Canyon just behind us. "

The grapes being picked Wednesday will be used for sparkling wines. Grapes for sparkling wines are usually the first to be picked in August while grapes for white and red wines are grabbed later in the harvest season.

After being plucked from the vines, the grapes will be placed into bins, transported to wineries for processing and eventually be transformed into bottled beverages.

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