Perlis Picks: Helping NorCal Wine Country

My most recent two-part article was devoted to whining about our trip to NorCal that had to be cut short when my wife Karen fractured her knee on the second day. As the first of that two part article hit our site, we were at the end of the week of devastating fires in Napa and Sonoma Counties that made my complaints seem petty.

Sonoma-County-Resilience-Fund-1-shrunk-for-NFGTruly, my heart has been broken over this. The loss of life is the worst part of course, but the loss of property and impact on the community is devastating as well. It was especially difficult for us was to learn of the damage to Santa Rosa, our adopted home-away-from-home.

Over that week, my Facebook feed was inundated with images and stories of the damage and destruction being wreaked by Mother Nature’s fury. I’m sure your social media accounts were as well. And as a wine lover, I expect that you have friends and/or family up in NorCal wine country, or perhaps even live there yourself. You too probably know personally people who were evacuated [or like one of my friends – evacuated twice, or like another of our friends whose parents lost their home and all of their family heirlooms]. Even the hospital ER where Karen had to go with her broken leg in September was evacuated.

After what seemed like forever of hearing the words “no containment”, we were all extremely ecstatic when, due to the efforts of the heroic first responders, the fires were finally brought under control.

What happens next? The long rebuilding process begins.

I think there is this myth of wealthy winery landowners. I’m not denying there are a few.

But the vast majority of California wineries are small operations that can’t afford devastation that comes from the fires as well as the hit to the local economy which is fueled by wine tourism. Not to mention all the winery workers that are also impacted. Please bear in mind that not only wineries and their workers were impacted. The entire community needs help.

There are many organizations to donate to. Eve published a link to a list recently…

Are you having a hard time deciding who to pick?

Clay Mauritson of Mauritson Wines suggested

In addition to donating, the consensus of how to help is to buy wine. Buy wine from the wineries in the affected areas and buy direct if you can.

If you get a chance, watch this video from Martin Cody of Cellar Angels:

I definitely support his ideas. If you’re looking for who to buy from, I’d suggest researching wineries who suffered losses and also wineries who are helping in the relief efforts. Look for wineries that are donating significant proceeds such as:

Limerick Lane is donating 100% of the proceeds of the sale of their 2014 Syrah/Grenache blend.

Idlewild is donating 100% of the sales proceeds of their full or ½ case of Northern California fire relief wines.

[I have to give props to the Bilbro family, Jake and Sam respectively, for the above. Even brother Scot of Marietta Cellars, which can’t typically sell to the public, put together a flash sale with Vivino to donate sales dollars to wildfire relief.]

There are other wineries that are donating as well, along with a host of fundraising events. We’ll do our best to keep you informed of them on this site and on our Eve’s Wine 101 Facebook group page. I’m not sure how long these offers and events will last, but even when they are gone, Northern California Wine Country will still need a steady influx of wine sales and tourist dollars to facilitate the rebuilding process, which is going to take a long time.

So, buy early and often.

Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at or