Fire impact on Manton wine country

May 10, 2014 12:49 AM

Following the 2012 Ponderosa Fire will their grape harvest and the wine from that year will ever be bottled and sold. In August of 2012, the lightning-sparked ponderosa fire burned more than 27,000 acres, in Tehama and Shasta counties, destroying 52 homes and 81 outbuildings.

Indian Peak Vineyards Wine Representative, Kristy Coffee says, "It was a huge tragedy. Many of our friends lost their homes. But we survived another wildfire."

You can still see the devastation from the Ponderosa Fire. It's a far cry from the lush vineyards at Indian Peak. But, they're still reeling from the effects of the fire that year."

Indian Peak owner, Fred Boots says, "It damaged the wine." The smoke from the fire would settle in the vineyard overnight and the smoke was absorbed into the leaves of the grapevines."

Now, all of the wine from that year sits in barrels, and it needs to be treated for smoke.

Boots says, "Smoke taint is different in every wine and this one in my wine was severe. The flavors were really bad and I have to have it treated."

Fred says if it wasn't for the fire, the wine would have been exceptional. He says, "You couldn't tell by tasting the grapes, but after it fermented for a few days, these bad flavors started showing up."

So, he's planning to send the barrels down to Sonoma County, before the end of summer, to go through a special process.

Boots says, "It's a double pass, reverse osmosis filter and they analyze the wine and find out the size of the molecule that's causing the problem and filter that out. But they filter out the good stuff and we don't know how much will be gone."

We're talking about 3,000 gallons or 1,500 cases of wine, so financially, it's vital they get it fixed.

The earliest it would be available? This time next year.

Boots says, "If it comes out ordinary, I'm going to put a label on it that talks about the fire and donate part of the profit to the local fire department."

Proving that like everything else in life, wine is always evolving and even it has a chance to rise from the ashes.

Indian Peak Vineyards is open every day, from 11am to 5pm. To get there from the south through Red Bluff, take exit 64 off I-5 and head east to the CA HWY 36 - CA HWY 99 split. Then take HWY 36, 10 miles to Manton Road and follow it for approximately 15 miles to Manton.


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