After wildfires and pandemic, Napa County wine grape production was down by half in 2020

Last year's double whammy of the pandemic and devastating wildfires had a severe impact on Napa County's agricultural production. According to a new crop report cited by Bay City News, the value of wine grape crops dropped from $937 million in 2019 to $461 million in 2020. Production also decreased by 60,000 tons compared to 2019.

At Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, Agricultural Commissioner Tracy Cleveland tied this 50% drop to the LNU Complex and Glass wildfires in Northern California last year, as well as COVID-19's economic impact. This is Napa's lowest agricultural production value since 2011, a year where grape growth was impacted by unseasonable rain.

"This (report) really puts into black-and-white the trauma that has been suffered by the grape industry here and the whole ag industry ... it really was a traumatic year," county Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht said at the meeting, according to the Napa Valley Register.

Wine grapes make up 99% of Napa County's agricultural production, but it's not the only item produced in the area. While field crops and livestock production value in Napa also fell last year, vegetables saw an increase in value from 2019 to 2020, as more people visited farm stands and markets during the pandemic.

"We can recover," Cleveland said at the meeting, according to the Napa Valley Register. "I think in general, speaking holistically, Napa County, the community, the growers are very resilient. They are good at coming back and figuring things out and taking something absolutely devastating and turning it into something that they learn from."

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