Along with the pandemic, wildfire smoke is now impacting winegrape harvests in critical ways, from smoke haze requiring N95 masks to managers cut off from their vineyards by fires. Now many wineries are not taking contracted deliveries until lab tests have cleared the grapes, according to the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG).

The few industry labs available are now backlogged, with wait times of more than weeks. Other wineries are running small batches to analyze the grapes before delivery.

“These delays — in addition to wineries demanding test results — mean many growers face the prospect of significant crop losses and economic injury,” said CAWG President John Aguirre. “This is unacceptable.”

He pointed out that buyers cannot reject deliveries without evidence, and the presence of smoke alone does not mean grapes are damaged.