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A Note of Support for Napa and Sonoma


Please indulge me for a moment as I offer a topical blog post.

Most young sommeliers or wine buyers spend hours and hours tasting wines and studying wine regions. But most will agree that things really start to make sense once one sets foot in the vineyards. That first visit to a wine region is often considered a rite of passage. Tasting grapes from the vine; touching the soil; meeting the winemakers, pickers, farmers and vineyard workers; the smell of wine fermenting in the winery – the entire experience can be transformative and, well, intoxicating. I, like many of my American colleagues, started with the region that was most accessible – northern California. Driving from SFO across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County and finally onto highway 29 back in 1992, I could hardly contain my excitement as I anticipated my first visits to several legendary wineries where I would learn about wine production and taste wines I had only read about. Of course, by this time Napa Valley was already a major tourist destination, but it seems quaint compared to the viticultural and culinary destination that now hosts millions of tourists annually. With almost three decades in the business behind me, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many of the major wine producing regions in the world. But with the unrelenting fires still blazing through Napa as I write this, I’ve been reflecting on that first thrilling drive up highway 29 and how it confirmed that I had taken the right career path. I’ve visited the area many times since then, but the crushing helplessness I feel as friends and colleagues fight to save their homes and livelihoods is overwhelming at times. The best way I can support them at this point is to drink Napa Valley wines. So, I’m stocking up on what I can and toasting my friends and colleagues in Napa and Sonoma County knowing they will rise again from the ashes. The wineries listed below have all suffered severe damage to structures and vineyards or were completely destroyed. Many of the owners lived on these properties as well, so their homes are also gone. I hope you will consider adding a few wines from any of these wineries to your collection at home. Please be sure to contact Mariano so he can source any of these wines for you if available in North Carolina.

Fantesca Estate

Schweiger Family Vineyards

Cain Vineyard and Winery

Spring Mountain Vineyards

Behrens Family Winery

Burgess Cellars

Hourglass Winery

Sherwin Family Vineyards

Aratas Wine

Castello di Amarosa

Chateau Boswell

Dutch Henry Winery

Fairwinds Estate

Hunnicutt Wines

Keenan Estate

Juslyn Vineyards

Merus Vineyards

Newton Vineyard

Paloma Vineyard

Phifer Pavitt

Ritchie Creek Vineyards

Sodhani Vineyards

Barnett Vineyards

Bergman Family Vineyards

Ledson Winery

St. Francis Winery and Vineyards

Westwood Estate Wines/Annadel Gap Vineyards

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