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What Do California’s Wildfires Mean for the 2015 Wine Harvest?

Smoke can seriously damage grapes and vines, even when a vineyard has managed to avoid the flames.
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Photographer: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

September is wine harvest month. For Shed Horn Cellars in California’s Lake County, it has been a disaster. A wall of flame from the Valley Fire, which started on Sept. 12, burned the winery to the ground.

For nearby Hawk and Horse Vineyards, this harvest is a miracle. Though the same fire charred hundreds of forest acres on the 1,300-acre property, the 18-acre biodynamic vineyard was barely touched. “No one can explain why it was spared,” said an emotional Tracey Hawkins, whose family owns the estate.