Alta Live: Defending Napa’s Wine

Napa winemakers Priyanka French and Randy Dunn discuss how Northern California wineries are innovating their production to protect against smoke and burns

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When the Atlas Fire burned down Signorello Estate in 2017, winemakers wondered whether they’d seen the worst of wildfire season or whether it was yet to come. Now, the unprecedented destruction of the 2020 fire season has winemakers wondering whether the lifeblood of Napa—cabernet sauvignon—is at risk. Signorello winemaker Priyanka French and Randy Dunn of Dunn Vineyards join Alta Journal contributor Heather John Fogarty in this Alta Live to discuss how Northern California wineries are innovating their production to protect against smoke and burns.

About the guests:

Priyanka French has been the winemaker for Signorello Estate since 2019. Originally from Mumbai, she has a master’s degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis.

Randy Dunn is a farmer, activist and winemaking pioneer of Howell Mountain. He co-founded Napa Valley's Dunn Vineyards in 1978 with his wife Lori.

Heather John Fogarty worked in wineries after graduating from UC Davis. A former wine and spirits editor at Bon Appétit, she teaches journalism at USC Annenberg. She wrote about wildfires’ impact on vineyards for the Summer 2021 issue of Alta Journal.•

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