Helping Lake County’s Wine Community Recover from Devastating Fire

lakewoodThe wine business is highly competitive, with wineries fighting for space on supermarket shelves and spots on restaurant wine lists.

But at the end of the day, the winery owners, winemakers, tasting room employees, grape growers and others understand that they all are part of the same “family.” And when a family member needs help, you rally around them.

This came to mind after reading a media release from colleague Paul Wagner, which provided an update on how wine industry people are faring following last summer’s devastating fire in Lake County, California.

With “family” in mind, I’d like to share Paul’s release with you today…

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In an effort to help rebuild Lake County after the devastating Valley Fire, the wine industry community has banded together in support of #LakeCountyRising.

A charity wine auction will be held on March 20 in St. Helena at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone to support the long-term rebuilding efforts in southern Lake County. The event is presented by #Lake County Rising, a collaborative fundraising effort of the Lake Country Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association and Lake County Wine Alliance.

The Valley Fire tore through northern California last September, scorching more than 115 square miles, destroying more than 1,300 homes and taking the lives of four Lake County residents, making it the third most destructive wildfire in California’s history. The fire damaged numerous businesses, decimated vast expanses of forest land, and left thousands of residents suddenly homeless.

Lake County grape growers and winery owners, along with North Coast industry partners, quickly mobilized to launch the #LakeCountyRising Valley Fire Relief Fund to help members of the Lake County community cope, adjust and rebuild.

Since launching this campaign, the fund has received donations from across the state and beyond, raising more than $800,000 to date. While these contributions already have made a profound impact in the lives of Lake County residents, the need is still great.

Community members and wine industry guests can make a difference as they raise their paddles to bid during a live auction with the nation’s leading wine auctioneer, Fritz Hatton. Napa Valley Vintners, Lake County Winery Association and other wine region associations around the state are putting together memorable auction lots in support of this important event. In addition to live auction items, attendees will be able to bid on silent auction wine lots and experiences from wine regions across California.

Already lined up is a live auction personal barrel lot valued at $58,000. Beckstoffer Vineyards will provide a half-ton of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the 2016 harvest of the Georges III Heritage Vineyard in Rutherford to the expert winemaking team at Sinegal Estate, who will custom crush, craft, barrel, age, bottle and label the finished wine specifically for the successful bidder.

Another live auction lot includes four magnums of wine from several of Beckstoffer Vineyards’ Heritage Vineyards and the opportunity for two couples to join Andy and Betty Beckstoffer at PRESS Napa Valley in St. Helena for a curated dinner complemented by several To Kalon wines. Each couple also will receive a signed copy of sommelier Kelli White’s new book, “Napa Valley Then & Now.”

Auction attendees will enjoy light hors d’oeuvres prepared by students at the Culinary Institute of America and have an opportunity to taste Lake County wines in a walk-around tasting. Seating is limited and advance registration is required.

Tickets are $150 and may be purchased online at

Those who would like to bid but aren’t able to attend can check the website after March 1 for lot descriptions and advance bidding details.

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Posted in Wine Buzz
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