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The 2020 Wildfires Could Cost California Wineries $3.7 Billion

Also: The San Francisco meals chefs can’t wait to enjoy, and more news to know today

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La Borgata Winery owner Gerry Iulano tastes wine from a burned barrel amidst the charred remains of his winery during the LNU Lightning Complex fire in Vacaville, California on August 23, 2020. 
Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • Between August 2020’s LNU and SCU Lightning Complex fires and Napa’s Glass Incident Fire last September, California wineries have faced a year of devastation. And now, we might have a dollar amount for the wine industry’s losses: $3.7 billion, reports the SF Chronicle. The figure comes from analyst Jon Moramarco, who writes the influential Gomberg Fredrikson Report, which seeks to “create the wine industry’s leading databases and reports.” On a webinar Tuesday, Moramarco said that the estimate of $3.7 billion includes not just the damage and destruction of scores of wineries, but the loss of grapes throughout the area that were rendered unusable by smoke exposure. On top of that, he warns that after the pandemic ends, restaurants that are still reeling from COVID-19 shutdowns will “be much more cautious about how they’re spending,” which means that diners should expect shorter wine lists than those they’ve enjoyed in years past.
  • Walnut Creek is handing out $1 million worth of grants to the city’s bars and restaurants. [Bay Area News Group]
  • In a survey of female chefs across the country on dining experiences they’re looking forward to, San Francisco spots like El Buen Comer and Zuni Cafe came out on top. [Conde Nast Traveler]
  • Food critic Soleil Ho headed to Berkeley to try Roman slice shop Pollara Pizza, saying that every pizza she’s gotten there “is outstanding.” [SF Chronicle]
  • With the sit-down ritual of dim sum dining off the table for now, senior members of SF’s Chinese community are looking for new ways to connect. [SF Gate]
  • Tell your East Coast friends: Former Palm City chef Melissa McGrath is popping up in Philadelphia with hoagies similar to the Outer Sunset ones that “blew away the City by the Bay.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]

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