Mother Nature has without a doubt been very, very busy lately. Over the last several months our country and the Caribbean have suffered massive devastation from hurricanes. Mexico is recovering from deadly earthquakes, and the Pacific Northwest has suffered massive wildfires. Now the wine country of northern California is the latest victim of nature’s wrath. Obviously, there is nothing we can do to prevent most of these disasters, but humanity always comes together afterward to help one another rebuild. In a time when the United States seems so divided on many issues, we always see the true strength of America when people unite in times of need.
In the wine industry, we rely on nature to give us the very grapes that make wine possible. Some years are better than others, but we always do our best to let the vintage speak for itself in the bottle. The current wildfire situation in and around the Napa and Sonoma wine regions reminds me that grape growing and winemaking are never an easy task. Even with the fires engulfing thousands of acres, winemakers in California are harvesting fruit and processing grapes via generator power. They have a job to do and they will stop at nothing to make sure the job gets done the right way. That makes me so proud, especially considering the frightening nature of the wildfires. People come together in times like this, no matter the circumstance. We come together to save lives and structures. We protect each other no matter how much we might disagree on other subjects. A life is a life, and our livelihoods deserve protection as well, which is why Napa Valley is still harvesting fruit in the midst of the life-threatening fires.
It reminds me of Memorial Day weekend 2015. It was the weekend innocent lives were lost in the Wimberley floods, and rivers were cresting I-35 in San Marcos which was unheard of. At the winery, we were wrapping up our workday and watching the torrential rains pour down on our Hill Country vineyards. Ben Calais had just opened CALAIS Winery that weekend, and his plea on Facebook for help was all we needed to spring into action. It’s what we do, we are Texas Strong! We loaded up mops, buckets, and towels and headed to CALAIS Winery where we found Ben desperately trying to keep the flood waters out of his brand new winery. We picked up a pump from Tractor Supply to help move water away from his building. We used shovels in the middle of torrential rain and lightning to dig ditches from the roof of the cave to divert water elsewhere. One by one, people from neighboring wineries came to assist with the situation. At the end of the day, so many came to help. It wasn’t for praise or free wine. It wasn’t so we could look good to the other wineries. It is because it’s what we do, we are Texas Strong! That day made me so proud, because I know every winery in Texas would come to help if it came down to it. No one would hesitate, and that is exactly what California is doing right now.
This is just one example of the love people have for one another in the wine industry. Not just Texas, but every winery in this beautiful country we call home. California wineries are coming together just like Texas wineries would, without hesitance, without question. This is humanity at its finest, and it brings a tear to my eyes when I see people coming together like this. We saw people of every sex, race, and religion pulling people from their homes along the Texas Gulf Coast during Hurricane Harvey. We saw H-E-B send Texas grocery trucks to Florida after Hurricane Irma to provide food and water for the needy. If this doesn’t make you proud, I don’t know what will.
Just as Texas is experiencing one of the best, if not the best vintage in Texas wine, some of the most revered vineyards in California are close to burning up entirely. It is fair? Absolutely not. Will they bounce back better than ever when the fires are extinguished? You bet they will! And it will be with the help of the people of the United States of America, not just Napa Valley or Sonoma.
We at Texas Wine Lover would like to provide a link to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund to our readers. We may not be able to be there in person to help lift away pieces of charred homes and wineries, but we can donate whatever amount of money or other items we see fit to help rebuild in northern California. A little goes a long way, so even a $5.00 donation adds up when people donate in numbers.
Our deepest thoughts are with the people of northern California, and we pray that you stay safe, then rebuild even better than before. Remember…during times of disaster, we always come away stronger. It is not just Texas Strong, it is Texas-California Strong! We love you California, and we are here for you.