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Napa wine country desperate to get back to work

Napa wine country desperate to get back to work

Our state's wine country is still recovering after wildfires destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres earlier this year.

Adam Housley with Fox News shows us what the people who live and work in the area are doing to rebuild.

Winemaker Pierre Birebent said: "It’s strange but we know we're going to rebuild and we know it’s going to be a nice building again so we have faith"

Birebent says he has hope, as he looks over the spot where Signorello Winery once stood.

The October wildfires destroyed the winery and raged through wine country, killing 42 people and burning down nearly 9,000 structures.

Birebent said, "It's important for people to come back because we depend on tourism and the valley is still beautiful and it’s still a good time to visit."

Jessica Hague of Darioush Winery said, "We do need to put people back to work, we do need to make sure our wineries, our restaurants, our tourist industry. You know this beautiful land is supported by the people who really care so much about it"

One of the top five most visited areas in the country, the two weeks of fires came at the regions busiest, during harvest season.

And while 22 wineries were either damaged or destroyed, there are more than 600 others in Napa and Sonoma that are open for business, albeit with more room than anyone wants.

Hague said, "Most people are very surprised… they're expecting to see charred areas, burned areas and they're few and far between."

There is plenty of destruction, in Santa Rosa, thousands of homes are gone and lives have been changed forever.

But much of the destruction is in residential areas, so people are more dependent now than ever on a steady income, most likely tied to the tourist dollar.

Dan Hickman, a “Season for Sharing” fund recipient said, "There's been an immense amount of support from family and friends and just the community in general"

Hague said, "The best way that anyone interested in supporting Napa Valley right now is to come visit."

While the Thomas Fire in Southern California is now the state's largest ever, the wine country fires are the most destructive in history, with estimated damage in the billions.

While Signorello Winery hopes to reopen in two years, they need to be creative to keep all their employees working.

They are now taking wine tasting directly to people's homes and of course, other wineries are doing what they can as well, to reconnect with customers because bookings in Napa and Sonoma are down 50% from 2016.

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