AMADOR COUNTY (CBS13) — The president of the Amador Vintner’s Association says this is the absolute worst time to lose power in the area. One business says the shutdown could cost them tens of thousands of dollars because they can’t stay open.
There are plenty of wineries in the hills of Amador county. One of them is the Iron Hub Winery, owned and operated by Beth Jones and her husband Tom.
“We’re a family business that relies on processing the grapes at the exact time,” Jones said.
But the family is dealing with a situation they’ve never dealt with before.
“My husband’s a winemaker with three decades of experience and we’ve never had this experience with the power not being available,” Jones said.
No power due to the PG&E outage means bad things for the Jones’ grapes.
“The one thing that’s going to happen to them now that they’re gonna start to shrivel up some gonna start to lose weight and juice so it’s not good all the way around,” Sheldon Potter, a grape grower, said.
Jones said there’s a way to make sure their grapes don’t go to waste.
“This requires a special three-phase generator that we don’t have. We have the other type of generator. But we don’t have one for the crash pad,” Jones said.
The president of the Amador Vintners Association said that these generators are common at large wineries but they are a costly expense. Jones estimates that these generators cost $80,000-$90,000.
If a winery doesn’t have these generators, Potter told CBS13 they could be done during a harvesting season.
There’s another problem with the outage that says Potter could cause a big issue for wineries.
“It’s going to be the worst for the wineries because everything‘s gonna be backed up. Wineries they deal with a lot of different growers,” Potter said. “Each grower, they can only pick so many grapes at a time and in a day, depending on the size of the winery.“
Jones told CBS13 that their family’s winery is in the process of getting the three-phase generator to power the crushing machinery. That way they are prepared for any future outages.