Similar to the 2017 fires many of us feel helpless, and you are not alone. I write this note with fresh fires raging just about a mile away from our ONE HOPE property in both directions in the AVAs of Oakville and St. Helena. The fires of 2017 were demoralizing and destructive in the form of lost lives and structures. The fires of 2020 raged for 30 days throughout August and September, only to be teased with a short break where the smoke cleared and the sunshine and beauty broke through, and then the unimaginable destruction started again.
These back to back fires have been death blows to much of our community, especially farmers and laborers who will miss most or all of harvest this year, and our hospitality workers who were just starting to regain their balance after being knocked down hard by the pandemic.
In 2017, over $600k was raised by thousands of donors through our GoFundMe, which allowed us to ship many truck loads of basic needs items that had been donated to shelters throughout the areas hit by wild fires a National non-profit partner - Good360. We donated to volunteer fire departments that don't receive federal funding, and we collected over 300 different types of acorns to preserve all species of oak trees in Sonoma and Napa, many of which are just starting to go back into the ground in front of the homes people have rebuilt.
Just as we did in 2017 we will make sure 100% of the proceeds raised by this campaign get to the people who need it the most, with a special focus on farm workers and hospitality workers who's lives have been turned upside down.
Here's what we know currently:
— 56,781 acres burned
— 5% containment
— 26,623 structures threatened
— 107 Napa Co homes destroyed
— 36 Sonoma Co homes destroyed
— Cause under investigation
To our neighbors and friends in wine, hospitality and beyond, all I can offer is stay strong , stay connected, and lean on one another. This may be Mother Earth’s greatest test of the century for Napa... in a year that already brought a once in a century pandemic. Instincts tell me we are still a long way from getting to the other side of this one. Now, more than ever, we must summon all of the mental strength we have. Mental toughness is the ability to make the next best decision, no matter the circumstances. Time heals everything. The skies, soil and vines are resilient and will regenerate; we must do the same. Thank you to the people on the front lines trying to control the uncontrollable. Words don’t suffice to express our gratitude, but thank you anyway. Our entire ONEHOPE and Napa Family will never forget the helpers and heroes who stepped forward into the danger. Thank you to any of you who have donated or simply said a prayer for our community.
- Jake Kloberdanz, CEO, ONE HOPE Winery
Photos: Napa Valley Register & Getty Images