Drinking for Good

October 17th, 2017

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I was never a huge wine drinker until I had kids. In fact, wine has always made me feel kinda of crappy, so I avoided it. For many years I didn’t drink anything at all. But having toddlers has changed all that. Luckily for me, I am so not in my body anymore that I barely notice how crappy wine makes me feel when I drink it a few nights a week who am I kidding, almost every night.

Still, I am far from an oenophile. You’ll never hear me gush about the flavor profile of a bottle. Mainly, I buy the same Sauvignon Blanc over and over and over. It’s reliable, it doesn’t give me wine-heaves, and I know where it is on the shelf at the co-op.

However, my complacent attitude has been challenged since the fires in Napa and Sonoma largely destroyed one of the most beautiful places in our country—along with the vineyards, lives, and family legacies of countless wine-making families in that region.

For years I lived a county down from California’s dominant wine country, in Mill Valley. Countless times did I field trip to Napa and Sonoma, not even really for wine tastings (a tourist thing, of course) but for the countless other reasons one would go there. The natural hot springs (Indian Springs, rapturous), the adorable little towns (Calistoga, I love you!), the yoga retreats (Mayacamas Ranch, tragically RIP), the hiking (Jack London Park!), the outdoor concerts (Long Meadow Ranch), the world-class restaurants (my unassuming favorite: the Fremont Diner — still standing thank goodness!), the glamping (Safari West, also still standing!). For a while, I trekked to Santa Rosa or Sebastopol to salon with a smart group of lady writers once a month. My best-of-the-best, Karen, had her baby shower at an estate in Calistoga. She herself is a business manager for boutique wineries up there.

The Fremont Diner

The Fremont Diner, world’s best

I have other very close friends who work in the wine industry, and even those who own vineyards. This last week. I’ve sat in sorrow from 3,000 miles away wondering, what is going to happen to all of these people? All of this beauty?

Of course, there are tragedies everywhere, every damn day. Mother nature is angry, and I don’t blame her. But these fires, this calamity, hit very close to home for me. California, my love, my beloved, beautiful, magic, ethereal place, land of sunshine, land of wildness, land where the wine flows.

What can I do from all the way here in Vermont? Well, I can drink wine. Or more accurately, I can buy wine from the wineries affected by this disaster. Buying their wines is not just a show of solidarity. It’s a tangible economic way to vote with your dollars. It directly and indirectly gives financial support back to family run wineries in need of a cash infusion if they are to rebuild and salvage what they have left.

If you drink wine, consider buying from the following labels. I pulled this list together by asking a few close friends who work in the wine industry and are intimate with what is going on there. Hand this list to your local wine-buyer (I sent mine to someone at the co-op this morning).

But by no means am I an expert. Please correct me and add to this if you have information, and I will edit and update!

Ancient Oak

Ashton Vineyards

Backbone Vineyard

Cliff Lede


Glen Ellen


Modus Wines

Oster Wine

Paradise Ridge

Paras Vineyard

Patland Vineyards

Roy Estate

Segassia Vineyard


Stags Leap

Vin Roc

White Rock

Also, a useful article in the Mercury News lists detailed damage to the 22 wineries on its list. The Mercury News article, though, is missing some of the wineries above that I hear from my people were badly affected if not destroyed.

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