Thursday, December 14 , 2017, 11:41 pm | Smoke 41º


Local News

Central Coast Wine Organizations Fundraise for Victims of Northern California Fires

Two Central Coast wine and viticulture organizations have announced fundraising campaigns to help victims of the deadly fires in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

The Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation and the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance are working to solicit donations from the local winemaking community and the public at large.

The Santa Barbara County efforts will utilize funds collected via Direct Relief International, based in Goleta.

In Paso Robles, consumers who buy wines from participating wineries through this month will see $1 of each bottle purchase funneled to fire victims via three Northern California relief groups.

“We have quite a few (winemaking) transplants here from Napa who are personally impacted with friends and family,” said Jennifer Porter, executive director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

When Hurricane Katrina hit 10 years ago, the PRWCA also held a fundraiser, Porter said, “but it wasn’t of this scale.”

Many winemakers and vineyard managers in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties worked in Northern California before relocating to the Central Coast, and many have colleagues who have lost homes, jobs, wineries and vineyards. Several reached out to friends via Facebook and Twitter, offering spare bedrooms as temporary housing and emotional support.

Using Direct Relief International, the Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation will direct 100 percent of funds raised via the California Office of Emergency Services, the Napa County Public Health Department and more than 40 health centers and clinics within the three counties, organizers noted.

“Our hearts go out to the hundreds of families who have lost their homes and jobs because of the devastating wildfires in Northern California,” said Steve Fennell, president of the Vintners Foundation and winemaker at Sanford Winery.

“We want to do whatever we can to offer emergency relief now, and also help these communities recover and get people’s lives back on track,” he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the local effort had raised $13,571, according to Direct Relief. 

Contributions to the Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation wildfire relief fund can be made online here.

At the end of the October, the PRWCA will direct funds to the Napa Valley Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund, the Community Foundation of Sonoma County’s Resilience Fund, and the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.

Click here for a list of Paso Robles wineries participating in the fundraising, which is being updated with additional member businesses daily.

Among the wineries listed as participating as of Thursday afternoon are Adelaida Vineyards & Winery, Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery, Ancient Peaks Winery, August Ridge Vineyards, Bianchi Winery, Brochelle Vineyards, Caliza Winery, Castoro Cellars, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Cypher Winery, Daou Vineyards & Winery, Derby Wine Estates, J Dusi Wines, J Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Justin Vineyards & Winery, Lone Madrone, Niner Wine Estates, and Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards.

Other participating businesses are Paso Robles Inn & Steakhouse, Rancho Azul y Oro, and Taste in the Alley in Paso Robles.

In addition, Wine Enthusiast magazine has listed organizations accepting donations of money, goods and time, among them local food pantries and options for lodging, for fire victims. 

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via [email protected]

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