Sonoita vineyards finish up 2017 harvest - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Sonoita vineyards finish up 2017 harvest

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TUCSON - Sonoita area vineyards narrowly escaped disaster with all of the wildfires across Santa Cruz County earlier this year, California vineyards aren't getting so lucky right now and some experts say you may feel the impact on your wallet sooner rather than later.

Rolf Sasse, Master Distiller and Vintner for Flying Leap Vineyards and Distillery in Sonoita, had a great harvest this year, despite wildfires like the Sawmill Fire burning close to 50,000 acres nearby in April.

“We've got a good crop, beautiful fruit,” said Sasse. “We are almost completely done for the year, just one more day of Cabernet Sauvignon.”

Sasse says Napa and Sonoma vineyards are in the height of their harvest and even if they escape the flames the smoke could choke production due to what vintners call smoke taint.

“If you already have hanging fruit it will all taste like it has been smoked and then that season is completely lost,” said Sasse.

Sonoita area vineyards like Flying Leap use only their own homegrown grapes, but other area vineyards that supplement fruit from California may be out of luck.

“They might see a price hike and possibly may not even get any,” said Sasse.

Wine from 2017 won't hit the market for well over a year so it's too early to tell the exact impact but Sasse says consumers might see a price hike like that of gasoline during a hurricane.

“What I will expect is that it’s going to go like oil prices,” said Sasse. “Prices will probably go up even though the impact can't actually be felt yet.”

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