NORCAL FIRE RELIEF: A ROUNDUP

Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a disaster. We in wine country have been battling (or, in my case, fleeing) fires all week. I am safe and well, but my neighbors, friends, and colleagues need your help.

The following organizations assisting fire victims are either personally recommended by me or by friends/colleagues here in wine country. This list is by no means comprehensive. These organizations are primarily asking for money, not goods.

By and large, the list focuses on Sonoma County, as that’s where my resources lie. Feel free to add your own preferred charities (in any affected county) and I will update accordingly. Correct me where needed… It takes a village.

Thank you!

 

GENERAL FUNDS

Sonoma Resilience Fund
http://www.sonomacf.org/sonoma-county-resilience-fund/

Sonoma County Recovery
https://sonomacounty.recovers.org/

Napa and Sonoma County Fire Relief
https://www.gofundme.com/napa-sonoma-fires

Napa Valley Community Foundation
First launched by Napa Valley Vintners after the 2014 earthquake.
http://www.napavalleycf.org/fire-donation-page/

Disaster Relief Mendocino
http://www.communityfound.org/…/disaster-fund-for-mendocin…/

Choose from any GoFundMe here. https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/CAfirerelief

 

FOOD
Redwood Empire Food Bank
http://refb.org/

FISH (Friends in Sonoma Helping), food bank
http://www.friendsinsonomahelping.org/

Search for the food pantry of your choice: https://www.foodpantries.org

 

GOODS

Here is a centralized Google Doc that so many of us here in wine country have used to help one another this week. Before you collect or ship goods, please check this document and make sure you are addressing a specific, current need.

https://docs.google.com/…/14ZhXDNaL260p5OempaFb…/mobilebasic

 

IMMIGRANT NEEDS

Latino Community Foundation
https://latino-community-foundation.networkforgood.com/…/38…

OLE Health
Providing health care for immigrant community
http://www.olehealth.org/

Graton Day Labor Center
This organization is setting up a fund to help victims of the fire who are undocumented. Send a check to their offices and mark it “UNDOCU-FUND”
http://www.gratondaylabor.org/

 

WINE

Sonoma Vintners & Growers have set up a program for vintners to help other vintners by offering resources such as tanks, storage space, skilled labor, housing etc. Winery folks, use this form to list your offerings, and they will be shared appropriately and privately:
https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSdzXi-INnZOEshQqP…/viewform

Buying any Northern California wine will help.

Buying from Cellar Angels will help extra. Proceeds go to support California Wildfire Relief: https://www.cellarangels.com/cha…/california-wildfire-relief

Karma Chameleon

We hospitality workers subtly shift roles to seek the same beauty guests do.

Most people—you and me and that woman making your latte and that man turning down your bed—we want the same thing. We want to taste beauty so potent it transforms us. “She wants to hear wine pouring,” writes the poet Rita Dove,“… taste change.” We pursue that beauty relentlessly, if in different ways.

Those of us working in hospitality, however, lead double lives.

I am one of you; I am not one of you. Here I am behind the bar; there I am slipping from my post to mingle with the crowd. First I pour your wine; later I sip from my own glass. We are alike, you and me—although when I pull on my work boots, tie back my hair, and roll up my sleeves, the resemblance might be hard to see.

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It wasn’t purely aesthetics that first drew me to wine—I can’t make such a romantic claim. Necessity factored heavily. At the height of the Recession, I arrived in Sonoma County with a lagging freelance business and no safety net. I felt wildly lucky, then, to find a gig working with a boutique winery. I’d soon become their first full-time employee. Seven years later, I still help run the place.

No, I didn’t come to wine just for the beauty—but I stayed for it. Continue reading

Raising the Bar

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Vincent Van Gogh, Sower at Sunset

Much of my career, I’ve used my enthusiasm and communication skills to champion products or causes. Naturally, I gravitate toward gigs that allow me to promote matters I genuinely support. So, I’ve had some fulfilling jobs.

Along the way, I’ve witnessed some colleagues working without much gusto. From my vantage point, this seems to happen when there is a lack of authenticity in the company or cause. Does this happen in the wine world? You betcha.

My latest article for Nomacorc calls for greater accountability and truth in winery marketing. Here’s that piece. Thanks for reading.

 

“It’s important to find your lens.” In conversation with writer Cathy Huyghe

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Cathy Huyghe is an author with an appetite.

In Cavalier Career, we explore the will to do good work. So what kind of work does it take–really–to bring wine to the table?  Consider:.

  • A harvest crew skilled not only at picking fruit, but hunting rabbits.
  • Courage enough to traverse war-torn Syria in a taxicab full of ripening grapes.
  • Nerve to skirt the law, particularly in Turkey, where it is illegal to market wine and the consequences may be harsh.
  • Patience as long as the life cycle of a koala bear: If eight years pass before you bottle your wine, then so be it.
  • Hunger. Voracious hunger.

That last bit, according to writer Cathy Huyghe, is key. Whether the ache of passion or of physical appetite, hunger drives the wine business. It also drives our own private pursuits. 

RedCoverHFW-1In Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World through the Lens of a Wine Glass, Huyghe uncorks bottles
and stories from around the world. With uncommon curiosity, she looks past the luxe labels and technical tasting notes to global socioeconomics. The resulting twelve “conversations about wine” (as she calls them) reveal the humanity behind one of the world’s most celebrated beverages–and the drive it takes to pursue one’s hunger. 
Continue reading

Mind the Gap

In previous posts, I’ve conveyed that the wine business, while deeply satisfying, remains hard work. Admittedly, it might sometimes be work with idyllic vineyard walks and glitzy parties–but hey! It’s a grind, in its own way.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve enjoyed writing about the wine business for various outlets. My latest piece tackles the topic of interdepartmental rifts (specifically, between winery production and marketing) and offers tips for communication that heals. Company “tribalism” can arise can happen in any industry, so it may be relevant to all. Thanks for reading!

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Voice in the Vineyard

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“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.” 

~Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

“The gift turned inward, unable to be given, becomes a heavy burden, even sometimes a kind of poison. It is as though the flow of life were backed up.”      ~ May Sarton

Dark shit, no? When I read that tidbit from Ms. Sarton, I always imagine some kind of nasty infection one might contract in a hospital. I think of words multiplying in my system, thickening like sludge in my veins and eventually shutting me down altogether.

Silence: what a way to go. Surely there’s a way to avoid such a tragic fate.

It took years for me to understand that my need to write has something to do with a need to be heard. That my drive to do good work—which has veered toward workaholism—stems from a half-innocent, half-deranged desire to make a difference. And that all of it is partly traceable to some kind of anxious, middle-child complex. Hey! listen! I have something important to say!  Continue reading