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Fire Update October 19, 2017

October 21, 2017
Equipment Protection in the Field.
October 19, 2017

It’s difficult to put into words the tension and stress that all of us who live in wine country have endured these last eleven or twelve days. California’s Governor Jerry Brown described the fires as possibly California’s worst natural disaster. The Tubbs fire which burned from Calistoga to Santa Rosa just now followed the exact same path as the 1964 Hanley fire, yet instead of taking three days to burn that area the 70 to 80 miles per hour winds drove the fire to Santa Rosa in just three hours. The high winds and the funneling through the down-sloping canyon created its own firestorm and “fire whirls” which were so powerful they uprooted trees and flipped over cars.

Wednesday afternoon we were told that the Tubbs Fire was two miles from us and we had three hours to evacuate. We quickly loaded two Suburbans with our office and important documents only to find out that it was a false alarm. For the past week Stu drove around with our entire office in his car. All last week we worked on fire prevention, including cutting down trees too close to our shop and equipment area. I’ve estimated that we hosed down and sprinkled over 100,000 gallons of water around the winery and the shop area.

On the other side of the shop is a two-acre open, disked field being readied to replant next spring. We moved all our tractors, spray-rigs, chain saws, power tools–anything and everything that could be moved–onto the field, along with our neighbor’s 1929 Ford Model A pick-up and his 1954 Massey-Ferguson Model 35 tractor.

Fortunately we never had to find out whether our preparations were enough. The fires are now completely surrounded and contained, and with up to .75 of an inch of rain expected later today, we can hopefully start talking about the fires in the past tense.

Many, many of you have asked what you can do to help. My answer is simple: come visit Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino wine country. Stay at our hotels, eat at our restaurants and buy our wine. Whether as a winemaker, vineyard worker, restaurant waiter, chef or limo driver, we need your purchasing support.

Stu, Charlie, Sam, Bonnie and Julie Ann

Firefighters rest in St. Helena
Fire trucks parked in St. Helena behind Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen.


Firefighters inside, enjoying dinner and hospitality.


Local Support
Proudly displaying local support.




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