As the Northern California wildfires are slowly being contained and extinguished, Napa and Sonoma wineries are urging customers to continue their support by consuming their wine. According to NBC, Sonoma County has suffered $3 billion in losses due to wildfire damage, but wine-industry professionals feel that continued business will help the area to heal faster financially.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the majority of visitors to Napa Valley in 2016 were Californians, most of them from just a few cities in the Bay Area, particularly San Francisco.
Unfortunately, California locals seem to be the people avoiding goods and services from wine country out of fear of damaged products, ashy vineyards, and the potential threat of persistent flames.
Mayacamas Winery estate director Jimmy Hayes feels devastated not only by the fact that the Sonoma winery lost its historic hospitality center in the flames, but also that customers are cancelling visits because they are worried about continuing fire threat. Hayes believes that if people are looking to help, what they need to do is buy.
“What anyone and everyone can do to help right now is just — if you have a winery you like, just buy their wine. Drink their wine,” Hayes told NBC. “If we can keep vineyards, bottles moving from the warehouses to customer tables, then our businesses are going to be fine. And that’s how we’re going to pay to fix all this.”
Other local wineries echo his sentiment. According to blog DoBianchi, Matthiasson Wines in Napa sent out an email blast to customers requesting donations to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, but also imploring readers to buy Napa and Sonoma wines from anywhere that they can.
“The other thing that would help all of us is to BUY NAPA AND SONOMA wines at restaurants, wines shops, and through your favorite winery websites, and finally we hope that you will VISIT Napa and Sonoma after the fires are put out,” they wrote.
“This is the height of our tourist season and the middle of harvest. The workers in our wineries, vineyards, and hospitality are not getting paid, small businesses and restaurants are either closed or have limited hours. Please consider a trip here during our ‘off-season’ so local businesses, wineries and all the employees can make up some of the lost income.”
GoFundMe has launched a campaign for those affected by the Northern California wildfires. To donate, click here.