Winemakers fight to salvage Sonoma County grape harvest

SONOMA, Calif. (KGO) -- In the midst of the North Bay fires, some Sonoma County winemakers are trying to get back to work salvaging the 2017 grape harvest. But without water or power, many are doing what they can and relying on each other.

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At Inspiration winery, winemaker Dylan Sheldon was stomping grapes while standing in a barrel.
"With no power or water we really have to improvise," said Sheldon.

The winery-office park in Santa Rosa is on Coffey Lane, less than a block from where fires destroyed the Coffey Park neighborhood.

"So many homes are destroyed it's baffling why our winery was not effected, " said Sheldon.

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Winery owner Jon Phillips not only bottles his own wine but processes grapes for a dozen other boutique labels.

"My clients are depending on me to keep going. We're turning lemons into lemonade salvaging a bad situation to get some normalcy back," Philips added.

Some competing wineries have loaned Phillips grape harvesting equipment. Delaying the grape crush would mean ruin for unprocessed grapes.

"It's very eerie and odd but working is good distraction from the reality of some neighborhoods some of us live in" said winemaker Kimberlee Hatcher.

Harvesting remaining grapes is now a challenge. Some wineries in Sonoma and Napa Counties were damaged or destroyed In the fires. The lasting impact is still unknown.

Click here for complete coverage of the North Bay fires.
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