We watched with the rest of the country as the news of the fires came through our various screens. Needless to say, our first concern was for our friends in the area (they were okay), then the countless others who lost their lives, their homes, and their businesses. But as the flames died down, we began to wonder whether Santa Rosa would still be able to host WBC 2017.
The answer came pretty quickly – not only was the hotel able to host, the surrounding associations and wineries were eager to have us. Even better, while no one wants to diminish just how bad the fires were, the vineyards did what vineyards do. They acted as a firebreak, meaning that the fires could have been even worse.
Yes, there were some wineries that were damaged, including a few, such as Paradise Ridge, that were completely destroyed. But the vast majority of the wineries remain intact and open for business.
Which was the big message out of the session at the conference put on by the local vintners associations – please come. The reality is, the wine community is very closely knit and has banded together to help everyone who needs it. The Sonoma Winegrowers Association recently sent out a release that their foundation not only raised over $400,000, they’re already distributing it to ag workers affected by the fires.
But they all say the best way to get the region back on its feet is something we like to do anyway – visit and buy wine. Heck, even Sean, from Paradise Ridge, said that they had some inventory that had been stored elsewhere and they could really use the sales now. The site is fully operational and even has a whole section on the fires and how they’re planning to come back.
Since this is the time of year people like to plan vacations, think about Northern California’s wine country.