Each Fall, it seems the horror sequel starts again for those who live in wine country. It’s fire season and like clockwork it seems to repeat itself annually. This year, the horror was magnified with the timing of harvest.
No one knows the genesis of the fire that began in the early morning in St. Helena, which was named the Glass Fire. Fueled by triple-digit temperatures and high winds, it quickly spread to Sonoma County.
Thousands of people have been evacuated, 67,000 acres of wine country land have been impacted, 600 homes have been lost, 31 wineries, restaurants and some esteemed resorts have been damaged or destroyed (also validated through San Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Times, but those have firewalls, as well as numerous wineries and Wine Spectator). As of Thursday, the Glass Incident Fire is at 58 percent containment and full containment is expected by October 20. But thankfully, no lives have been lost as of this writing. And while there is still a long way to go to rebuild, Napa and Sonoma have shown resiliency and strength in the past and will do so again.
On a very small scale, I know what it is like to leave a burning building with only the clothes on my back. Over 20 years ago, we had a house fire. But what was very different in our case, was my livelihood and community was not meshed into the place that burned.
Because my readers are a community of people who want to take action, here are ways you can help:
BUY WINE – directly from the wineries or seek out their labels. Many of these wineries were lost or sustained extensive damage. And this doesn’t even include the list of wineries declaring their entire vintages lost to smoke taint.
- Barnett Vineyards — https://www.barnettvineyards.com
- Behrens Family Winery – behrensfamilywinery.com
- Bremer Family Vineyard – https://www.bremerfamilywinery.com
- Burgess Cellars – burgesscellars.com
- Cain Vineyards and Winery – cainfive.com
- Castello di Amorosa – castellodiamorosa.com
- Chateau Boswell – chateauboswellwinery.com
- Cornell Vineyards — https://www.cornellvineyards
- Davis Estates — https://www.davisestates.com
- Dutch Henry Winery — https://shop.dutchhenry.com
- Eeden Vineyards — http://www.eedenwines.com
- Fairwinds Estate Winery – fairwindsestatewinery.com
- Fantesca Estate – https://fantesca.com
- Flying Lady Winery & Estate — https://www.flyinglady.com
- Hourglass Winery – hourglasswines.com
- Hunnicutt Wines – https://www.hunnicuttwines.com
- Merus Wines – https://www.meruswines.com
- Newton Vineyard – newtonvineyard.com
- Paloma Vineyard — https://www.palomavineyard.com
- Phifer Pavitt Winery – https://www.phiferpavittwine.com
- Ritchie Creek Vineyard — http://www.ritchiecreek.com
- School House Vineyard — https://www.schoolhousevineyard.com
- Sherwin Family Vineyards – sherwinfamilyvineyards.com
- Spring Mountain Vineyard – springmountainvineyard.com
- Sterling Vineyards — https://www.sterlingvineyards.com
- Terra Valentine – terravalentine.com
- Tofanelli Family Vineyards — https://www.tofanelliwine.com
- Tuck Beckstoffer Estate — https://www.tuckbeckstoffer.com
In addition, there has been serious damage to Calistoga Ranch, the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant and golf shop at Meadowood Resort and White Sulfur Springs, a Calistoga institution.
There are also some ways beyond buying wine to make a direct contribution:
- The Red Cross is providing food, shelter and relief supplies to people affected by fires. To make a one-time contribution go here or sign up to be a volunteer.
- Baby2Baby is diapers, wipes, portable cribs, blankets and cleaning supplies to families affected by the fires. There is an Amazon registry here or you can donate directly.
- The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund supports relief and recovery efforts. You can donate directly to communities impacted here.
- As someone who has experienced what it is like to only walk away with the clothes on my back, The California Fire Foundation provides $250 gift cards to immediately acquire the basics. Donate here.
- The Latino Community Foundation provides support for Latino-led organizations that are helping Latino and immigrant families who have been displaced by fires. You can donate here.
- For those who are feeding and for those who need to be fed, World Central Kitchen provides meals to volunteers and people affected by wildfires. You can make a single or monthly contribution here.
- For those animals needing help, Red Rover and the Humane Society are rising up to meet the need. You can donate directly to both organizations.
- Food banks across California are providing meals to communities affected by wildfires. You can find a local food bank to donate to on the California Association of Food Banks’ website or donate directly.
And most importantly, go back and visit when the smoke clears. According to Tom Corringham, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, he estimates (early) the damages to the wine industry as being over $20 billion just this year. That is a direct cost only. It’s going to take a village of our support to help get the wine community we love back on course.