ETX winemaker reacts to California wildfires' impact on wine industry

ETX winemaker reacts to California wildfires' impact on wine industry

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - At Kiepersol Estates Winery in Tyler, winemaker Michael McClendon knows all the factors that go into a good glass.

"The winemaking process is very agrarian in the sense that we take farming very seriously," says McClendon. "In all regions around the world, we spend a lot of our time in the vineyard tending to the vines."

Due to the massive wildfires in California, wine makers in that area have been unable to give their vineyards that type of dedication.

"A lot of our suppliers ended up having to delay or shut down for several days to evacuate their people," says McClendon.

Here in Tyler, the grapes have already been harvested; however, in California, some grapes were still on the vine when the wildfires devastated the area, leaving them vulnerable to smoke taint. Due to the process of aging a wine before it's released, it's too early to know the fires' impact.
"People will be able to go back and open bottles from 2017 years from now and say 'ah, I remember when I tasted this in the wine," says McClendon. "'That was a harrowing time in the California wine industry when the fires came through.'"

The wildfires in California had a small impact on production at Kiepersol.

"We still are very dependent upon a lot of wineries and suppliers for things like filters and dry goods," says McClendon. "It does impact your planning and what you imagine your timeline is going to be like in production."

However, McClendon says the minor set backs are easily worked around.

"A farmer makes a plan, and you figure out a way to get around it and do what you can do in the meantime until our friends get back on their feet," says McClendon.

McClendon adds that a good amount of grapes in California were harvested before the fires started, therefore wineries there were still able to produce a substantial amount of product for 2017.

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