NVG's Low-Smoke Burning Technique & Other Alternatives
Permitted burn season runs from October through April. One of the easiest and most cost-effective alternatives to smoky burns for growers to implement is NVG’s Low-Smoke Ag Burning Technique. Use NVG's step-by-step manual available in English and Spanish to reduce black carbon, preserve air quality, and conduct virtually smoke-free burns!
Burning is an essential practice with no alternative when it comes to preventing the spread of vine pests and diseases. In addition to NVG's Low-Smoke Burning Technique, the use of fireboxes such as Airburners can also deliver a clean burn. For vines not compromised due to pest and disease issues, other alternative methods include chipping and grinding.
NVG's Vine Disposal & Open Burning Resources
Saint Helena, CA (10/27/2022) - The 2022 harvest has concluded for most wineries and growers across Napa Valley. With climate variability as the new normal, Napa Valley grape growers aim to be the tip of the spear when it comes to resiliency and adaptability. This year, their preparation and experience paid off. Winemakers are referring to 2022 as “the tale of two harvests," making it one of the more unique vintages in recent history.
NOTES FROM THE VINEYARD (from the Napa Valley Grapegrowers)
In March, bud break started in Carneros and throughout some mountain appellations. Leading into May, the vines showed strong shoot growth and average crop yields. Early July kicked off veraison and the countdown to harvest began.
When faced with heat and rain events this year, grape growers showed foresight. “August provided warm days and cool nights, perfect for ripening. Then in September, we experienced a 5-day-long heat wave in the triple digits, which shifted our farming and harvest plan…but we’ve been preparing,” said Macy Stubstad, Director of Vineyard Operations for Lawrence Wine Estates. “We use a range of different trellis systems that splits and flops the canopy over the vines to protect the crop from strong morning and afternoon sun, allowing the fruit to retain acidity and freshness.”
Soon following the heat spike, Napa Valley received 0.6 – 1.2 inches of rainfall. “Crews opened up canopies for airflow, which alleviated mold and botrytis and allowed us to harvest clean fruit,” said Stubstad. And for Matt Ward, winemaker for Pride Mountain Vineyards, the rain event “plumped up” fruit still hanging on the vines.
With harvest complete, growers will ready for winter rainfall. They will put erosion control plans to work, spread compost throughout vineyards, aerate soils and prepare to seed for cover crop.
NOTES FROM THE WINERY (from the Napa Valley Vintners)
The white wine harvest kicked off in early August, followed quickly by red wine varieties. The typical gap between the white and red wine harvest was almost nonexistent, and the frenzied tempo continued until the rains came and the weather cooled in October.
“I’m calling 2022 a tale of two harvests. From August to mid-September it was intense and fast-paced. The rain in mid-September created a gap and sudden halt to harvest. The fruit that came in after had beautiful mild weather in early October and lots of time to get to perfect ripeness,” said Elizabeth Vianna, Winemaker and General Manager at Chimney Rock Winery.
Winemakers describe the 2022 white wines as having perfect acidity and freshness with remarkable flavors and textures, and red wines as excellent structured with deep red colors, luxurious tannins and exquisite fruit-forward aromatics.
Josh Widaman, Estate Winemaker at Pine Ridge Vineyards, thinks “this will be a vintage that showcases the full range of flavors that Napa Valley wines are so well known for, from zesty and vibrant to dense and powerful.”
As noted by winemaker Macario Montoya of Roots Run Deep Winery, "Each vintage tells a story that is unique and can never be replicated. We’ll remember 2022 as a vintage of craze and beauty. As the wines go to bed for the winter, we’re excited about their potential and the story they will continue to tell."
LEARN MORE ABOUT NAPA VALLEY’S 2022 VINTAGE
About the Napa Valley Grapegrowers
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers is a non-profit trade organization that has played a vital role in strengthening Napa Valley's reputation as a world-class viticultural region for 45 years. Its mission is to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards. NVG represents 685 Napa County grape growers and associated businesses.
About the Napa Valley Vintners
The Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit trade association has been cultivating excellence since 1944 by inspiring its nearly 550 members to consistently produce wines of the highest quality, provide environmental leadership and care for the extraordinary place they call home. Since 1981, the NVV has invested more than $225 million in its community to provide equitable access to health care and opportunity for advancement in children’s education. NVV is dedicated to improving diversity and championing inclusivity in its community and in the wine industry.
By Kenny Martin, Wine Spectator
On Aug. 27, nearly 600 wine aficionados flocked to Oakville's Renteria 360 Vineyard for the 15th annual Harvest Stomp auction, a night of live music and great food for a worthy cause. This year’s event raised $3.3 million, surpassing last year's total by $600,000. Harvest Stomp supports Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG), which seeks to promote and preserve Napa vineyards, and the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, founded by NVG in 2011 to provide educational opportunities, English literacy programs and more for farmworkers.
The auction "celebrated the American and migrant farmers, caretakers of the land and all the families building a legacy for Napa Valley agriculture," according to its website. Harvest Stomp and its beneficiaries also advocate for change on issues such as climate resiliency, wildfire protection and sustainable agriculture.
"It was great to be with people who care so deeply about the Napa Valley and its farmworkers. The generosity shown in this 15th anniversary year of Stomp was unmatched," said auction co-chairs John and Michele Truchard, owners of JaM Cellars and FARM Napa Valley Vineyard Management, in a statement.
By Jess Lander, SF Chronicle
As California enters the height of fire season, Napa wine and hospitality groups have joined forces in an effort to stop blazes from getting out of control.
With government resources spread thin and a wildfire prevention initiative failing to pass in Napa in June, private organizations are stepping in. Together, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners and Visit Napa Valley are spending $33,000 per month for around-the-clock monitoring of artificial intelligence-powered cameras that can detect a fire within seconds of starting.
But the collaboration is only a temporary solution. While it will hopefully help keep residents and businesses safe through the current fire season, the groups also want to send a clear message to Napa County to do more next year.
Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners, and Visit Napa Valley Fund 24/7 Wildfire Detection Sensors
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners, and Visit Napa Valley have joined together to fund three early detection wildfire sensors on Atlas Peak, Clover Flat, and Diamond Mountain with 24/7 monitoring to protect Napa County residents and businesses from wildfires. The three organizations have assumed financial responsibility for the service through the months of September, October, and November 2022: the peak of Napa County’s fire season, covering some of the County’s highest fire-risk areas.
The Illumination Technologies (ITC) state of the art “IQ FireWatch sensors” triangulate locations of potential fire threats, including identifying specific parcel numbers in Napa County. This program was initiated in 2021 by Napa County and was maintained through public funds. Continued funding was expected to come from the ¼ percent sales tax proposed in Napa County’s Measure L, which unfortunately did not pass. To fill the gap, local grape growers Caymus Vineyards, E. & J. Gallo Winery, and Circle R Ranch & Vineyards generously donated funds to keep the sensors active during the beginning of the 2022 fire season. When the service was set to discontinue on August 31, 2022, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners, and Visit Napa Valley stepped up to ensure early detection services continue uninterrupted through the end of this fire season. This partnership is a model for community-based resiliency work in the face of increased fire and climate risks that have greatly affected the Napa Valley community over the last several years.
“When we realized the service was at risk of shutting down, these organizations sprang into action to ensure the sensors stayed on. Early detection is a valuable tool in the toolbox when it comes to protecting the entire community from the wildfires like we’ve experienced over the last several years. Now with the partnership between Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Visit Napa Valley, and Napa Valley Vintners, this program will continue to safeguard the Napa Valley community through fire season. We’re proud to carry this community-first, collaborative initiative forward,” said Tom Davies, president and part-owner of V.Sattui Winery, who sits on the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Board of Directors, is the FY23 Chair of Visit Napa Valley Board of Directors, and is a long-time member of the Napa Valley Vintners.
The three existing cameras currently cover 48% of Napa County in high-risk areas. As part of this initiative, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners, and Visit Napa Valley are committed to working with other industry and community partners during this fire season and onward to implement a long-term plan for maintaining ongoing early detection services and expanding coverage to more areas throughout the County.
To support funding for the wildfire detection sensors, please email Molly Moran Williams, NVG Industry and Community Relations Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Monday, as temperatures reached record highs, the NVG-funded wildfire sensors were first to detect a fire in the Oakville/Yountville area enabling the Fire Department to get it under control right away. Additionally, NVG is awaiting reports on three additional fire detections picked up by the sensors and kept under control within the last 24 hours. With the heat advisory still in effect, we are grateful to have 24/7 early fire detection still in place in high-risk areas of Napa County.
In August, NVG announced carrying forward a fire detection initiative funding three early detection sensors for the month of September on Atlas Peak, Clover Flat, and Diamond Mountain with 24/7 monitoring to protect Napa County residents and businesses from wildfires.
As part of this initiative, NVG has also committed to working with industry and community partners to ensure detection through the 2022 fire season while scoping how to maintain early detection for the long-term for Napa County.
NVG will carry forward a fire detection initiative, funding three early detection sensors for the month of September on Atlas Peak, Clover Flat, and Diamond Mountain with 24/7 monitoring to protect Napa County residents and businesses from wildfires.
The Illumination Technologies (ITC) state of the art “IQ FireWatch sensors” triangulate locations of potential fire threats including identifying specific parcel numbers in Napa County. This program was initiated in 2021, funded by Napa County. However, without the passing of Measure L, the service could no longer be maintained through public funds. Through the generosity of local grape growers, the sensors have continued to protect the community through the month of August. NVG will be taking on fiscal responsibility for the service through the month of September, at the peak of harvest and Napa County’s fire season—and in some of the County’s highest fire-risk areas.
“When we realized the service was at risk of shutting down, NVG leadership sprung into action to ensure the sensors stayed on. Early detection is a valuable tool in the toolbox when it comes to protecting the entire community from the wildfires like we’ve experienced over the last several years. We’re proud to carry this community-first, collaborative initiative forward,” said Tom Davies, who sits on NVG’s Board of Directors, Industry Issues Committee, and Wildfire Task Force.
As part of this initiative, NVG also commits to working with industry and community partners during the month of September and onward to implement a long-term plan for maintaining ongoing early detection services and expanding coverage to more areas throughout the County.
NVG would like to recognize the incredible generosity and stewardship of Caymus Vineyards and Circle R Ranch & Vineyards for their individual contributions that allowed the ITC service to remain in place through August in service to the entire community.
In addition to this initiative, the NVG Wildfire Task Force is engaged with several other projects including:
USDA has released disaster assistance funding for producers that sustained losses due to wildfire, smoke, heat, and more in 2020 and 2021. NVG has continually advocated for disaster assistance for members following the 2020 wildfires and is grateful to Congressman Thompson for his continued efforts in securing this critical funding.
The WHIP+ program has been renamed the Emergency Relief Program (ERP). Funds will be released in TWO PHASES, beginning with PHASE 1 producers. To determine which PHASE you are eligible for, review the following flowchart created by NVG.
PHASE 1 Application Process
Receive Free Technical Assistance with your Application
NVG and FWF are providing free technical assistance to Napa County producers in either PHASE 1 or PHASE 2, in partnership with Morrison and Co. If you are interested in receiving technical assistance with your application, please use the following interest form.
Arnulfo Solorio has been named the 2022 Napa Valley Grower of the Year. Solorio (“Nufo”) is a partner and vice president of operations at Silverado Farming Company, where he has served in leadership roles since 2002.
Solorio served three three-year terms on the Napa Valley Grapegrowers board of directors, the first Hispanic person to serve in that capacity. His legacy may, however, be the creation of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation in 2010.
Solorio was passionate about starting the foundation as a way to provide professional development and educational opportunities to farmworkers and their families. The Farmworker Foundation now serves thousands of people each year through its programs in literacy, leadership, vocational training, mentorship and community participation. Solorio is a director on its board and is currently chairman of the Farmworker Education Committee.
It’s no surprise that the notion of preparedness and designing defensible spaces has made its way into the mainstream vernacular for all members of our community. Since 2017, 60% of the landcover in Napa County has been touched by fire. Across California, over 4.3 million acres of land burned in 2020 alone.
Wildfires may have become the new normal in California, but as a community we can work together to be more resilient and better prepared. To this end, creating fire-ready vineyards and landscapes is essential.
In the aftermath of the 2020 Glass Fire, which burned large swaths of the Viader family’s Howell Mountain estate vineyard, as well as 30,000 surrounding trees, proprietor Delia Viader and her son, grape grower and winemaker, Alan Viader, are rebuilding their estate property through a new lens.
They are preparing for the next fire threat by creating a defensible space that protects their vines and structures and, in circumstances as serious as the Glass Fire, gives firefighters a chance to fend off impending flames safely. And they want to help their wine country neighbors to do the same.