Wine country, and the people that live there are hurting. Badly. Covid-19 was a sucker punch to the kidneys, and the wildfires, which still rage, are a baseball bat across the back of the head. Businesses are closed. Homes have burned. Farmworkers who might want to do the hard work of harvesting grapes despite the increased danger from the pandemic are unable to because of the fires and smoke.
The full extent of the damage to the economy and to people’s lives will take months to measure, if only because the damage continues, day by day, as the fires still burn. Between the LNU Lightning Complex fire and the CZU Lightning Complex fire, nearly half a million acres of Sonoma, Napa, Solano, and Santa Cruz wine country have burned. As of today. 4 people have died and 937 buildings have been destroyed. Those two fires, the biggest of hundreds in California, are only 27% and 17% contained at the moment. Thousands have been displaced, many forced to choose between the danger of crowded evacuation centers and sleeping on the streets.
Any way you look at it, Wine Country needs our help. Last year, a few friends in the wine industry organized a fundraiser using the GoFundMe platform that resulted in nearly $100,000 in direct aid to victims of the 2017 wildfires, with an emphasis on farmworkers and first responders.
And now they’re doing it again. This is not a large charity organization with a big bureaucracy to support, this is a handful of people who work in and around the wine industry banding together to make a direct impact on those most profoundly affected by this disaster. Other than the fee to GoFundMe, every cent goes to help people in need.
I hope you will consider donating. Visit the 2020 Wine Country Fire Relief page to donate.