California Wine Country fires have consumed hundreds of thousands of acres of forest and vineyard land, a massive number of homes and businesses that are still too early to count, and dozens of lives in just the past six days. The fires are still burning, with some expected to continue causing damage for several weeks. It may take even longer to reach many remote areas in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Mendocino and Lake Counties and account for the total loss in property and lives. Those of us who live and work in these areas are still, to some degree, in shock from this experience. We all know someone or some place lost.
Northern California Wine Country is a regional jewel. Whether you drink wine or not, the natural beauty provided by God and preserved through careful planning and sustainable farming make the area a great place to live, work and visit. Hiking trails abound in forests thick with redwoods and native oaks. Walk down Napa’s Main Street or Yountville’s Washington Street on a Saturday night and you’re likely to hear a dozen languages spoken by tourists who flock here from around the world. You’re also likely to run into a fair number of visitors on a weekend get-away from nearby San Francisco or Silicon Valley. Wine Country is a place for everyone.
The entire San Francisco Bay Area is sharing in this tragic experience, as I noticed yesterday while working in San Francisco and the East Bay (Berkeley, Oakland). Shifting winds late in the past week drove massive amounts of smoke from the fires down as far south as San Jose, resulting in critically poor air quality throughout the entire Bay Area. Schools have been closed, professional sporting events are being moved or postponed, and people who would have gone out to dinner on Friday night stayed home to avoid the smoke. These are small things compared to losses suffered by those in the path of the fires, but they have prompted significant support for victims as local celebrity chefs are serving meals in evacuation shelters and donations are flowing in through the regional Red Cross and other relief agencies. Yes, please give or help if you can.
We’ll talk more about the World Of Wine And Adjacent Amusements after more important issues are addressed. If you haven’t already made use of our Destinations Directory, please use it to help plan a visit to Wine Country after the fires are out and stop by some of our recommended restaurants and tasting rooms. More destinations will be added soon, with emphasis placed on featuring destinations impacted by the fire that have re-opened and could use your support.