The Wine Institute is backing the Newsom administration’s $1 billion budget proposal for forest health and fire prevention.

During a Senate budget subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, Noelle Cremers (above), a policy director at the institute, said Wine Country “has been impacted significantly by wildfires in recent years.”

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Cremers said the industry estimates statewide losses to be $3.7 billion for the 2020 wildfires, due mostly to smoke taint. This led to a 14% decline for the annual grape crush.

“Much more action is needed to help improve the health and resilience of the forests and lands around the wineries and vineyards,” said Cremers.

She pointed to a Napa County project that could benefit from an early allocation through the current budget. The county hopes to implement $7 million-worth of fuel breaks this year.