How We Can Help the Fire-Ravaged NorCal Wine Community

Red wine

Like so many, I cut my teeth on wine in Sonoma and Napa valleys. I was a young pup, still knocking back white zinfandel when I went tasting for the first time. This treasured day of sunshine, laughter, and many glasses of wine introduced me to Ravenswood, V. Sattui, Mondavi, and other classic brands. I was hooked. I wanted to live there, to learn more, and to drink better wine. I was drawn to the people working at the wineries, whose language and discussions are poetic and scientific, who pour with a smile and share how they got into wine, and who all seem to know each other up and down the valley. I remember how they’d recommend visiting their friend pouring up the road and how we should stop in at the restaurant down the street for a great bite and bottle. In wine country, everyone supports each other and is connected through their love of wine.

The current Northern California wildfires have ravaged these beautiful valleys, taking lives and property, and painfully changing the pulse of these communities. Not everyone has harvested their 2017 vintage, but even those who have may not have power to process their grapes. For many, the priority is even greater—the loss of homes, loved ones still unaccounted for. The path of destruction is still growing. The depth and breadth of help that’s needed is nearly unfathomable.

Our Orange County relationship with Northern California wine is literally everywhere—its wines dominate nearly every restaurant list and the majority of space on our store shelves.   We love the cabernet grown in the heat of Napa, and the pinot grown in the coastal climes of Sonoma. If you’re feeling as helpless as I am, here are two quick ways you can show your wine love and support:

  • Buy Napa and Sonoma wines | The economic impact on the wineries, not to mention the full community, is yet to be fully realized. So, when you restock your wine or go out to eat, choose wines from these valleys.
  • Give to #CaWineStrong This newly launched hashtag and fundraising site is spreading donations across Mendocino, Sonoma, and Napa Donate dollars, share the link, and use the #CAWineStrong hashtag. Both Paso Robles and Monterey wine regions are helping their wine brothers and sisters to the north with proceeds of their sales through Oct. 31.

I’ve reached out to several of the wineries and organizations featured in this space, including Smith-Madrone, Gamble Family Vineyard, ArrowandBranch, The Setting, and Dry Creek Valley AVA. Some are OK, with owners holding their breath, knowing the battle isn’t over. Some are not yet talking.

“Wine to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.”

– Robert Mondavi










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