California's Historic 41-Year-Old Napa Valley Winery 'Consumed' by Glass Fire

The Glass Fire in California has burned the Chateau Boswell Winery in St. Helena, which dates back to 1979 and is among a handful of privately owned family wineries in the Napa Valley.

"The #GlassFire has consumed the Chateau Boswell Winery and other structures along Silverado Trail in St Helena . The fire is currently zero percent contained," noted a San Francisco-based photographer for Getty Images, Justin Sullivan, in a post Monday sharing images of the scene on his official Twitter account.

The Black Rock Inn near the winery was also reported to be engulfed in flames from the Glass Fire, the Bay Area's SFGate reported.

"Multiple structures" were reported to be burning from the "out of control fire," Sullivan described in a post Monday sharing a video of the burning inn, which was incorrectly identified in the tweet as the Glass Mountain Inn, SFGate reported.

Several other wineries and structures in the area were threatened by the Glass Fire, including the Davis Estates' 155-acre property in Calistoga, which overlooks the Silverado Trail. The Glass Fire was reported to have burned in the mountains just behind the property, the Wine Spectator reported.

The property owner, Mike Davis, told the Wine Spectator: "Fire burned up to the edges on three mountain blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon," noting fire crew were clearing up hot spots with bulldozers and shovels. "I'm very grateful to all first responders who threw everything at it."

The Howell Mountain area among Napa's 16 wine-growing districts, may have faced the greatest threat, according to a spokesperson for Hall Family Wines, which kept its three tasting rooms in the county open during the day, Reuters reported.

Around 10 tons of grapes were reported to still be hanging on the vines of the Mending Wall winery in St. Helena. "We will definitely be putting it on the ground," the property's owner and winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown told the Wine Spectator.

The #GlassFire has consumed the Chateau Boswell Winery and other structures along Silverado Trail in St Helena . The fire is currently zero percent contained. #RedFlagWarning

— Justin Sullivan (@sullyfoto) September 28, 2020

Ehren Jordan, the owner of Failla Wines in St. Helena, confirmed: "Fire was on the property, about 500 feet from the crush pad," when he evacuated the property around 11 a.m. local time Sunday. Staff at the Merus winery in St. Helena were also evacuated Sunday morning, while the property's structures remain under threat, the Wine Spectator reported.

There are around 64 wineries, as well as rural estates and remote communities, in the areas currently under evacuation orders and warnings, according to the Napa County Office of Emergency Services.

Residents in about 600 homes in the Napa Valley were ordered to evacuate on Sunday, while around 1,400 other residents were warned to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. Both notices were said to have affected at least 5,000 people, according to a spokesperson for Cal Fire, Reuters reported.

While the Napa Valley region's 475 wineries are reported to make up only four percent of California's total annual grape harvest, they account for half of the retail value of all California wines sold, according to the Napa Valley Vintners trade group.

The Glass Fire was reported to be burning with "a dangerous rate of spread," Cal Fire noted in its latest report Sunday.

Please take a moment to listen to our Hi-Lo Siren, which is different from our regular siren. The Hi-Lo Siren is used to inform the community of evacuations. Reminder, when you hear the's time to go!

— Napa County Sheriff's Office (@NapaSheriff) September 27, 2020

Evacuation orders have been issued for multiple parts of Napa County in the areas west of Highway 29 from Deer Park Road to Elmhurst and all of Spring Mountain Road.

Evacuation warnings are in place for the east side of Silverado Trail from Howell Mountain Road South to Taplin Road and all roads in between, Howell Mountain Road from the Silverado Trail to Old Howell Mountain Road and all roads in between, as well as Conn Valley Road from Howell Mountain Road to the dead end and all roads in between, Cal Fire confirmed.

Firefighters are battling at least 25 major wildfires, as of Sunday. More than 8,100 wildfires have burned well over 3.7 million acres of California this year.

At least 26 people have died and over 7,000 structures have been destroyed since August 15, when the state reported elevated fire activity, according to Cal Fire's latest report Sunday.

Glass Fire Chateau Boswell Winery September 2020
The steeple at Chateau Boswell Winery burns as the Glass Fire moves through the area on September 27 in St. Helena, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts