Exclusive First Look: Newton Vineyard Rebuilds After 2020 Wildfires

The Newton property on Napa’s Spring Mountain was destroyed by last September’s Glass fire. Now begins the road to recovery…

Six thousand charred dead trees. Two years.

That’s what needs to be cleared and removed at Napa’s Newton Vineyard, and how long it’s likely to take. And then there’s the winery to rebuild.

“We need to take [the dead trees] out for risk of falling and causing further damage, while balancing that removal against erosion control. The cost to do just that is several million dollars,” says estate director Jean-Baptiste Rivail.

The Newton property was heavily damaged in the 2020 wine-country wildfires. Its location on Spring Mountain—a curving, winding, altitude-changing mix of exposures and slopes—makes it among the most difficult to farm in Napa Valley. Add drought on top of all that and just getting a new vineyard established would be difficult here, let alone having to clear the burned material out before replanting.

The 500-acre property had 68 acres under vine and was still celebrating its 40th anniversary when the Glass fire ignited in September 2020. Just 5 acres survived, says Rivail, who joined LVMH, Newton’s owner, in 2012, and came on board at Newton in 2017.

“I arrived to start at Newton the day [the 2017 wine-country] fires started,” he says with a gentle ruefulness. “And then in 2020 the fire started the day after we had everything picked and in the winery.”

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