Food & Drink

The Storm Train Is Steamrolling the Bay Area’s Wine, Farming, and Restaurant Industries

In case you weren’t already worried about the risk of falling glass downtown or getting crushed by a tree, here’s more not-very-uplifting news about the impact and potential effects of the cold, wet, and generally unpleasant weather that’s been hammering the Bay Area and California, generally. The San Francisco Chronicle reports this weekend’s upcoming cold snap — which could bring temperatures as low as 32 degrees to parts of the North Bay — could kill off some of this year’s grape harvest in certain parts of wine country. The risk results from early bud break in some wine-growing regions; if the delicate grape buds get exposed to frost, they could die — meaning no grapes this fall.

Meanwhile, Axios reports the dozen or so atmospheric river events that have dropped historic amounts of rain on the Bay Area and Central Coast have decimated some of California’s crops; per ABC news, “industry experts estimate about a fifth of strawberry farms in the Watsonville and Salinas areas have been flooded.” Between these lost crop seasons and flooding that’s made some residencies uninhabitable, the state’s farm workers are at risk. “They’re waking up and thinking, ‘How am I going to make ends meet?’” Hernan Hernandez, executive director of the nonprofit California Farmworker Foundation, tells Axios.

On the restaurant side, things haven’t been smooth sailing either. On Tuesday, a handful of restaurants across San Francisco and the East Bay closed for the night due to power outages including Bernal Height’s Marlena, Ramen Shop in Oakland, and Benchmark Pizza in Kensington. Earlier this week, Yuka Ioroi, who owns and operates Cassava restaurant in North Beach, told Eater SF the rainy weather seems to have kept customers at home and, of course, has prevented the restaurant from taking advantage of its sidewalk seating. To create more shifts for her restaurant staff, she and her husband plan to open a second business, a wine bar, in the Richmond District next month.

Experts predict yet another storm will arrive early next week, bringing more rain and snow to the Bay Area and state.

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