NJ wineries: NorCal fires are devastating blow to industry

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COLTS NECK -

The owners of some of New Jersey’s wineries say that the massive wildfires in Northern California are a devastating blow to the wine industry.

The fires have consumed thousands of acres of land and are responsible for the deaths of more than 20 people.

Janet Giunco, owner of 4JG's winery in Colts Neck, says that New Jersey wineries consider themselves part of a nationwide agriculture family.  She says that it has been hard to watch generations of hard work be destroyed.

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VIDEO: Interview with Exec. Director of Garden State Wine Growers Association

“It is way more than wine. It’s their livelihood,” she says.

Tom Cosentino, director of the Garden State Wine Growers Association, says that he agrees. He compares California wine country to the matriarch of winery family.

“California is the foundation of wine industry in America,” he says. “California is what really put wine in the United States on the map. It’s still the biggest producer for wine, and it's part of our DNA.”

But Giunco and Cosentino says that the fires are not expected to affect wine production in the Garden State. Nearly all the grapes that go into New Jersey wines are grown locally.

However, Giunco says that the impact is still upsetting.

"It’s more a blow to the industry in general; a blow to the people that actually are the frontrunners in the American wine industry and have been for a long time,” she says, adding, “To see your friends and mentors suffer like that, it’s an emotional blow."

The owners of 4JG's were supposed to travel to the Napa and Sonoma region Thursday, but canceled the trip. They say that they plan to rebook as soon as possible.

Winery owners say that people should visit California wine country after the fires are put out, to continue to support the tourism industry there.

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