Mid-Missouri winery owner says California wildfires not hurting local distribution

At Shawnee Bluff Winery in Lake Ozark, 50 percent of the wine they carry comes from The Golden State. The products the winery gets from California does not come from Napa Valley, where the fires have been most damaging. (Megan Sanchez/KRCG 13)

At Shawnee Bluff Winery in Lake Ozark, half of their wines come from The Golden State.

"We have Missouri wine, Washington wine, sometimes Oregon, but we do have quite of bit of varietals from California," owner Gail Griswold said. "We have about 22 labels in house and I'd say about 50 percent of that comes from California."

Missouri has 165 wineries, some specializing in local wine and others receiving products from the leading wine-producing state.

The Shawnee Bluff Winery owner said that she has been talking to her California suppliers about the effect of the wildfires on wine production.

"It seems to be that most of the destruction was actually to facilities to their actual onsite facilities where they produce their wine," Griswold said.

The products Shawnee Bluff Winery gets from California does not come from Napa Valley, where the fires have been most damaging. However, her suppliers in California are still seeing an impact.

"A lot of them have had to ship their wine to other suppliers north of them so they could finish out the process of their wine."

Griswold explained that fall is the season to harvest grapes. Many wineries harvested before the fires hit.

"Luckily for the California wineries and vineyards most of them, almost all of them had already harvested their grapes, and they were already in tanks ahead of time."

The wine connoisseur said that the struggle in California will only increase the prices on top-tier wines, though she doesn't believe that Missouri sales will increase because the taste doesn't compare.

"California is a moderate climate and it produces a lot of really dry wines, versus sweeter wines that we have here in Missouri."

As a small business owner, she said she feels for the wineries running generations deep.

"Kind of when you're seeing your idol or your mentor all that they've invested and they have to start over... it's devastating."

Wineries in California are starting to reopen and recover in the aftermath of the fires.

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