The wine country region of Northern California has been fighting wild fires since Sunday evening. The total devastation is not yet know, as the fires are still raging and barely contained. There are stories emerging of thousands of homes destroyed and a number of family wineries burned to the ground. As is normally the case with the Napa Valley, there are also stories of neighbors pulling together to save each others property. The wine industry is a close knit bunch who have a history of pulling together during times of need.
In fact, the wine industry as a whole is one of the most charitable industries in the nation. Through our associations we raise millions of dollars for charities, both local and national. In addition, our individual wineries support a tremendous number of causes across the country. We fly to local markets to support our distributors charity events and take part in local restaurant and wine shop auctions and gala’s. We give our time, money, and wine donations to help support those who we have business relationships with. Many wineries bottle significant quantities of large format wines specifically to donate to charity events. Even as a very small producer, we travel 6-8 times a year just to support charity events.
Now the tides have turned. We are the ones in need. Families are displaced, lives lost, businesses and dreams have gone up in the smoke that has swallowed the valley. Yet, there is always an air of positive energy as we rush to aid our neighbors. We have been inundated with emails and calls from customers, partners, and accounts asking what they can do to help. While the extent of the damage is not know at this time, one thing that can help is to support Napa Valley by purchasing wines. Distribution partners can push sales for those wineries affected to keep cash flow going so wineries can continue to support employees and each other as they battle through uncertain times.
While the wineries themselves may have damage, their inventory is normally stored offsite at a storage facility or consolidator. Distributors have access to wines and can rally their teams to help push sales. Local wine shops can have special Napa or Sonoma themed tastings and events. And when you are out to dinner, consider ordering a bottle to support a family winery affected by this disaster. It may seem like a small gesture, but it will help as these families begin to piece their lives back together.