by Eric Risberg, The Associated Press, January 11, 2017
FORESTVILLE, Calif. (AP) — One of the most scenic routes through Sonoma County wine country is a familiar drive, both for fun and for work. But after one of the biggest storms in a decade, the landscape transformed, with floodwaters submerging vineyards and fog hanging an eerie shroud across the Northern California sky.
River Road, from the city of Santa Rosa toward Guerneville, passes farms, rolling hills and a number of vineyards. Driving it Monday, the change of the weather between storms caught my eye.
Nearing the town of Forestville, I pulled off the road after spotting a number of vineyards underwater. I'd seen this spot before, but the view was new for the sheer number of grape vines consumed by floodwaters and a fog that started to lift in the background.
The photos were striking, appearing almost black and white and even snowy or icy, with just the tips of the vines poking above floodwaters and the reflection of a large, spiny tree.
Several miles away near the town of Windsor, more vineyards were flooded Tuesday, and ones that were partially underwater a day earlier were totally submerged.
Wine lovers want to know if the grapes will be ruined. Luckily, at this time of year, no grapes are growing and the vineyard is dormant. That means this famous region should still produce fine wine.
Parts of wine country have received up to 13 inches of rain since Friday, overwhelming the Russian River. The problems aren't over, with authorities expecting the waterway to rise 6 feet above flood stage by Wednesday.
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