It kind of makes you wish there were valuable wine estates in San Juan, honestly. The way the CA wine industry people band together is something we could all take a lesson from.
In October, a large swath of the wine-growing regions of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties were decimated by wildfires. Local relief efforts have been admirably generous and well-organized, though there are still many people displaced and even a few lawsuits erupting over the buying and selling of Cabernet grapes that might or might not have “smoke taint.”
On balance, though, California winemakers are showing themselves to be folks who believe in helping their neighbors. And now the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Foundation has announced a contribution of $117,687 for northern California fire relief efforts.
Over 90 Paso Robles wineries and wine-related businesses pulled together to raise funds to help struggling neighbors in the north. The Foundation will disseminate the funds between three charities aiding in the recovery efforts: the Community Foundation of Sonoma County’s Resilience Fund, the Napa Valley Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund, and the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.
“Coming together as one wine community to help our colleagues to the north, with such overwhelming participation from Paso Robles, has been one of the most gratifying experiences during my time in Paso Robles,” said Jennifer Porter, Executive Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “The Paso Robles wine community raised these funds primarily from donating one dollar per bottle sold through the month of October.”
The fundraising program kicked off on October 11, four days after the wildfires began in multiple Northern California locations, and concluded on October 31. Paso Robles wineries and related businesses were quick to sign on to the fundraising program initiated by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. A full list of participating businesses can be found here.
Additional fire relief contributions for the north coast were reported by a number of Paso Robles wineries choosing to donate directly, including J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, Tobin James Cellars, Eberle Winery and more.
The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance has continued with efforts to raise funds for wildfire relief, beginning with Blendfest on the Central Coast (February 9). The event will have a charitable element to raise funds for those affected by the fires in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
It’s a resilient industry, but a wildfire’s a wildfire. Your wine budget dollars can make a difference, so please, consider supporting businesses who were affected by the fires, as well as those who have jumped in to help.
For more information check out the statewide CA Wine Strong effort.