Words can’t put into perspective the sights and heartache we’ve all faced these past weeks. We as a winery are so fortunate to not have any physical damage to the winery, our wines and family of employees. But the damage to our friend’s homes & businesses is gut wrenching and extensive. The outpouring of grief and support from our guests, passionate wine drinkers and the public has been astounding and we so proud to be part of a community that unites in the face of such adversity. We don’t know a single person who hasn’t been touched by this.
Many of you have reached out to express an interest in helping us, the community and wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties. We wanted to take a moment to share what we feel will make the greatest impact on our beloved wine country.
FIRST: Come Visit! SONOMA & NAPA ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS
While there was extensive damage to the urban communities in Sonoma County, the vineyards and countryside along with the bucolic towns of Healdsburg, Forestville and Geyserville among others remain beautiful and untouched by the fires. We invite you to experience the striking changing of the seasons as the vineyards go from a rich green to vibrant yellows, oranges and red. Autumn and winter are beautiful and lend themselves to quiet country drives and a wonderfully relaxed pace to tastings and dining.
Many local lodging partners cancelled tourist reservations due to the danger, and opened up those rooms to evacuees and first responders, those rooms need to be filled now that the danger has passed, and the air has cleared. We encourage you to support locally owned and operated partners who were the first to respond to the need and who may feel the greatest economic impact from your visit.
Once you’ve booked your room, make lunch and dinner reservations. The Stark Family lost the famous Willi’s Wine Bar to the Tubbs Fire, but they have been serving meals every day to first responders and evacuees from their four other restaurants. Book a table at Bravas, or Starks Steak House, those dollars you spend on dinner will directly support the wait staff and owners as they rebuild. Both restaurants along with Monte’s & Willi’s Raw Bar have absorbed staff from Willi’s. Get that sought after reservation at Single Thread or Valette Healdsburg. Enjoy Sommelier Evan Hufford’s impeccable wine pairings with Kyle Connaughton’s culinary delights at Single Thread, or trust Dustin Valette to make you the perfect meal with his “Trust Me” menu. Both Dustin and the Connaughton’s have been donating produce and cooking up a storm all week long! Jeff & Susan Mall of Zin fame joined other culinary giants like Doug Keane at Daniel Kedan’s Backyard on Monday the 9th and haven’t stopped, even producing 700 burritos for evacuees and first responders 8 days after the fires broke out and will continue until there is no need. Visit Backyard in Forestville for lunch, buy a bar of Volo Chocolate hand made by Jeff & Susan, and head to Napa to experience Doug’s incredible Two Birds One Stone! While many of the wineries where not directly damaged, Employees of numerous vineyards and wineries have lost everything. Visit 2-3 wineries a day, spend time with the hosts, learn their stories, buy wine! If you would like recommendations on who to visit, where to stay and where to eat, we can help! Our Estate Concierge Lisa – firstname.lastname@example.org - has the pulse on the community and can direct you to the most incredible and deserving spots around wine country!
SECOND: Go buy a bottle or a case of California Wine!
The dollars you spend at your local wine shop or even better, purchased directly from wineries support the incredible HospitalityIndustry in Sonoma County! Over 20,410 residents are employed by the wine and hospitality industry here. Your purchase actually supports one of the most altruistic industries in the state. Of these businesses, 84% give directly to charity organizations, 64% volunteer in the community, 75% participate in fundraising events, and over 83% donate in-kind product or services. Your wine purchase touches some incredible programs provided by these local charities: Boy’s & Girls Club, Chefs of Tomorrow, Youth First, Occidental Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa Rotary Club, CERES, Redwood Arts Council, Sonoma Community Center, Face 2 Face, Living Room, Sebastiani Theatre, Girl Scouts, Russian Riverkeeper, Regional Fire Departments, KRCB Radio, Russian River Rotary Club, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Stewards of the Redwoods, Guerneville School Garden, Sebastopol Education Foundation, Mentor Me Petaluma, and many, many more.
Gary Farrell Winery contributed $10,000 to relief efforts. In addition we will donate $2 per bottle sold through our Tasting Salon, over the Phone, or on our Website through the end of the year. Our goal is to raise $20,000.
The money that we raise will be split 50-50 between two local organizations:
The Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief will contribute 100% of our financial donations to fire victims in the four counties affected: Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake, including first responders impacted by the fires and kids and schools. North Bay Fire Relief; Redwood Credit Union
The Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation in partnership with the Sonoma County Farm Bureau have established a housing recovery fund for ag workers who were displaced from their homes. Knowing that a home provides a family with stability and comfort, they are committed to getting workers into temporary housing as quickly as possible. SCGGF Wildfire Relief Fund
While these past weeks fires have tested the resolve of many, and have affected most everyone in our community it is incredibly inspiring to see the resilience and dedication of the residents of wine country. It’s with the tireless dedication of the first responders, volunteers and neighbors that we have been able to so quickly move to a state of recovery and it is with your continued support through the following months that we will be able to sustain this recovery. With your help, we will all be #SonomaSTRONG!
We look forward to hosting you in our new Tasting Salon over the coming weeks and months. You can book your tasting experience with us online here: http://bit.ly/GFWReserve