Near and dear to my heart, since I’m near – and so are the deer – in my back yard… the California wildfires of 2017 and 2019. When I looked out our glass back door, this is what I saw. Although this is a purchased image, my sight was a bit worse and a lot closer. I grabbed Buddy-the-Cat, and we took off leaving everything else behind.

Both of them were started within less than 10 miles from our home, awakened both times in the early a.m. hours, and evacuated for 10, then nine days, for the next one. The challenges were enormous, just for my husband and me as citizens. We have a home based business, so family and business life were tremendously impacted. I can’t, however, even fathom the crisis challenges for the industry I serve… wine grape farming and wine making.

We living in a high disaster area, it’s just the way it’s become.

Right now, each day the temps are above normal I can’t even innocently enjoy them the same way… All I can think of is, “If it’s like this now, what’s it going to be like in October?” A month I used to love; now I dread from November to the next October. Economically, we’re impacted. And now I have things I need to take with me at 2:00 a.m. ready to go, 24/7/365. With two runs at this, I don’t even want to know that there are any more crises left to endure. That’s my wish, but I also know that’s my possible reality. Education and preparations are our only solution, along with taking our new normal much more seriously.

Educational programs from Wine Business Monthly (WBM) are seriously worth your time. I’ve been to them and know that they’re well thought out and exceptional. I highly recommend this one.

From a press release from WBM: Adjusting to a New Normal


Vineyard Economics Symposium Talks Crisis Management 

The 2017 and 2019 wildfires were disastrous for our local communities. This year at VES, we’ll focus on the specific challenges of coordinating the communication efforts between Local, State, Federal Agencies, and the wine industry. This session will also address the greater role of our agricultural farming communities in managing future crises resulting from natural disasters.

It’s a tough topic, but we also plan on tackling smoke taint—its effects on growers, winemakers and local communities. Join us for The Wine Industry Responds to Wildfires: Collaborative Planning for Our Collective Future and learn from our expert speakers who will highlight recent research and studies conducted by the west coast wine industry.


8:30 am – 9:00 am ~ Welcome and Introductions, Eric Jorgensen
8:35 am – 9:00 am ~ 2020 Industry Survey Results, Lise Asimont
9:00 am – 10:00 am ~ Statewide Grape Grower Panel: Surviving in a soft market, Mark Couchman, Karl Lehman, Randy Heinzen, Justin Leigon, Bruce Fry
10:00 am – 11:00 am ~ The Wine Industry Responds to Wildfires: Collaborative Planning for Our Collective Future, Matthew Heil, Karissa Kruse, John Aguirre
11:00 am – 11:30 am ~ Networking Break
11:30 am – 12:30 pm ~ Converting Vineyards to Mechanical Management, Erik Dodd, Dave Terry

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm ~ Lunch

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm ~ Updates on the Grape and Bulk Wine Market, Steve Fredricks, Gary Agajanian
2:15 pm – 3:00 pm ~ Agricultural Economic Forecast and Cost Studies
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ~ Case Studies on Right -Sizing Expectations around Tax Planning including Wealth Transfer, David Pardes
4:00 pm – 4:45 pm ~ Wine Tasting and Networking Mixer