The mudslides in Santa Barbara County have been pretty tragic, people have been killed, others were buried alive. Many lost homes. Since this is a wine site though, here’s some information on the wine industry impact.
Hi, Mark Aselstine, with Uncorked Ventures. No bottle of wine as prop today.
Mostly everyone’s been aware California went through another big slate of wildfires over the summer, both in Napa and Sonoma, and then more recently in southern California and on the central coast.
We now, what actually usually happens in California after wildfires is mudslides, and that’s what’s happening. Just south of Santa Barbara there’s two towns: one, Montecito, which is getting 99% of the national attention for probably logical reasons. Oprah lives there. There’s a number of other 20 plus million dollar properties. If you can think of the nicest neighborhood you’ve ever seen in your life, including those in London or Paris, and then you pick it up and transport it and drop it on what people call the American Rivera, you get some idea of what the price point is likely to be.
In any case, mudslides … There’s another small town called Summerland. As you leave the city of Santa Barbara, not the county, but the actual city, downtown Santa Barbara that you see in the pictures, and you go south, the 101 snakes almost right along the coast and you get these small towns dotted on either side of the 101, some of which are only a few thousand people really tucked between the freeway and a couple hundred yards before the surf hits. It’s a really dangerous area if there are mudslides, which there are right now, so it’s definitely a tragic situation when this kind of stuff happens and you have multiple people killed, and, obviously, many, many homes destroyed.
Since this is a wine site, we should give you the wine spiel. This won’t affect the wine industry at all. Most of Santa Barbara grape production is centered to the north of the city of Santa Barbara, northeast. If you’re talking about Los Olivos, Valor, Canyon, all that kind of stuff. To the south, really what you’re talking about is these small coastal enclaves being, really, some of the cheapest areas in the state to live if you want to live right on the beach anywhere, unless you’re going way north, past San Francisco. You get these people that really commute into Santa Barbara, or even others that commute the 90 miles down south to L.A., if they don’t have to drive it every day. It’s kind of a tragic situation, because you have some people that are really eking out what is a middle class existence in one of the most expensive areas of the state to live, and then they’re hit with this natural disaster, which really has cut them off from much of the rest of the state, which is really different, specifically, for these places.
Wine wise, nothing to be concerned about. There’s not really anything wine related south of the city of Santa Barbara until you start hitting more into Ventura, and even then it’s only a handful of wineries that are based down there. If this was during harvest, you might have some concern about getting grapes back and forth, but there are alternatives inland, even if they’re much further inland, you can still access them, so this really is a human tragedy story, not an issue with wineries, or not really even for people working at wineries, because if you work in a winery or work in a vineyard, you would live northeast, where it was cheaper.
I guess, good news, terrible news in that scenario. My heart goes out to everybody in Santa Barbara. I know it’s a really tough situation right now.
Once again, Mark Aselstine for Uncorked Ventures, hope everybody’s having a good one.