As of this writing, the fires in Sonoma are still raging strong. As a result of the fast moving fires due to dry conditions and strong winds, hundreds of thousands have been evacuated, thousands of acres have been torched, and homes, businesses and wineries (Soda Rock 🙁 ) have been damaged or lost. When devastation hits a region like this, many of us wonder, ‘how can I help?‘
Here are 3 ways you can help those affected by the 2019 Sonoma Fires
1. Buy Sonoma Wine NOW and Join Their Wine Club
It’s no secret that wine is the life blood of the region. The wine industry in Napa and Sonoma together employ over 100,000 people and is worth more than $27 billion to the local economy. A majority of wineries are small, family owned, and produce less than 10,000 cases per year. Even though not all wineries have been directly affected by the fires, many winery employees have lost their homes.
- What is important to them? Buying their wine and joining their wine club. And, when I say buy wine, I mean, go crazy. Don’t buy a bottle, buy a case (or five, or ten). Stock up to buy wine for holiday gifts, stock up your cellar, or better yet… send the wine to me to help stock up MY cellar. I don’t care why you buy it, or where you store it, just do it. Joining their wine club helps them to prepare for the future with more certainty – and right now they need all the certainty they can get!
- Give the wineries the personal comfort in knowing that the demand for their wine is still high by calling them up, and placing an order and/or better yet, join their wine club. If they don’t answer, have patience, they’ll be back up and running soon and happy to take orders. If you have the capacity to store wine, placing a large order is one of the best ways to show your support. Need suggestions on a few wineries to buy from? See below to get you started.
- Do not be scared of the 2019 vintage – a majority of the grapes have already been harvested and they’re well protected in fermentation tanks.
2. Visit Sonoma
Now is not the time to cancel your visits to the Sonoma wine country. In fact, it’s the exact opposite – now’s the time to plan a trip out to the region. It’s a common, knee jerk reaction to cancel a trip after a disaster like this one. DON’T! Along with wine, tourism is an integral part of Sonoma’s economy. Don’t currently have a trip to Sonoma on the books? Book one!
3. Help in the Way You Would For Any Disaster
While buying wine is great, and will help keep the region on its feet, there are also the more standard ways to have a direct impact on the entire region, not just the key to its economic well-being. For example, consider making donations. With a great need, there are a plethora of organizations* looking to help.
- Give money*: If you’re going to donate, if possible, give money to an organization rather than supplies. Donations like clothing, food and water can be expensive to transport and may not be what the charity needs most. Giving money directly to a charity allows them to determine which items are most needed.
- Give blood: Rolling up your sleeves and going down to your local community or hospital to give blood is one of the easiest things you can do. How does this help Sonoma if you’re donating in New York? Blood is a national resource and can be delivered to areas in needs, regardless of where you donate it.
- Donate to local causes and avoid professional fundraisers*: Many professional fundraisers take a significant amount of every dollar donated as a fee. If you want your money to go the furthest, donate directly to an organization.
- Volunteer your time: If you live near Sonoma, consider volunteering your time. You can sign up directly with the Red Cross here.
- Adopt a pet: If this interests you, please check out animal shelters in and around Sonoma.
To all of our friends Sonoma, we wish you all the best as you struggle through these devastating fires. We know you’ll come back stronger than ever. And, we can’t wait to drink more of your amazing wines.
*Please do your homework before donating to any organization. Some organization are more reputable than others.
Ready to buy some wine? Here’s a list of small, boutique wineries who need your support.
- Stringer Cellars
- Medlock Ames
- Smith Story Wine Cellars
- Belden Barns
- La Pitchoune Winery
- Moran Manor
- Reeve Wines
- Kokomo Wines
- Enriquez Estate Wines
- Gros Ventre Cellars
- Kincade Fire: Newsweek
- Burned Soda Rock Winery: KCBS Radio