At Least 7 Calif. Wineries Destroyed in Fire; Wine Community Rallies to Aid Victims

Those Northern California wildfires destroyed at least seven wineries, according to the San Jose Mercury News, which tallied the devastation.  The wineries lost include Helena View Johnston Vineyards, Signorello Estate Vineyards, VinRoc, White Rock Vineyards, Paradise Ridge Winery, Frey Vineyards, and Oster Wine Cellars.

A number of other wineries reported some relatively minor damage.

This video, from the East Bay Media Group, gives a good view of the damage and the wine industry’s response.

Meanwhile, local wine industry leaders are organizing to immediate assistance and long-term aid to victims and are calling on the national wine community for additional help.

Support efforts include fundraising and creation of an online resource where vintners can find and offer resources, such as generators, trailers, lodging and manpower.

“Our focus right now is on getting on-the-ground support to impacted growers and vintners to help stave off further damage,” says Ann Petersen, Executive Director of Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley.  “We need the entire wine community to support this region with immediate and strategic action.”

Petersen is working with other local industry leaders to organize resources and direct them to those in need.

Vintners in the affected areas have immediate on-the-ground needs, ranging from equipment to experienced manpower.  Priorities include:

  • Water Tanks, as local water resources are scarce and needed by firefighters; those who can provide should immediately email maureen@SonomaValleyWine.com
  • Generators to power cooling tanks and other urgently-need equipment
  • Tractors and trailers to assist with moving grapes, equipment and debris
  • Lodging to house workers, including tents, mobile unites or locals willing to open their homes
  • Volunteer Labor. Experienced vineyard and cellar workers are needed; unskilled manpower is also welcome

The group has created an online form where supporters can list available resources and provide contact information.  Resource and contact information will be shared only with members of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino winegrowing and vintner associations. Click http://bit.ly/2wNVda0 to offer resources.

Many of the victims will also need long-term help, and established community foundations in each of the counties impacted by the Northern California wildfires have created relief funds to provide aid to local fire victims. The group of regional leaders organizing the wine industry support effort encourages those who cannot provide ground support to make a donation in any amount to the following funds:

 

“The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA wine community is heavyhearted today as we watch the continued impact of the wildfires on so many of our wine country brethren,” says Megan Metz, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association.  “It’s times like these that remind us how important the company of family and friends can be. We have banded together to help our friends as best we can to protect their businesses and livelihoods and will continue partnering on recovery efforts in the weeks and months ahead.”

Communitywide fundraising efforts are underway and messaging is being organized around the hashtag #CAWineStrong.

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