Updated Nov. 16
One month after the devastating fires in California, the wine and restaurant industries have stepped up to help victims, organizing events throughout the months of November, December and beyond. Wine Spectator is providing regular updates of charitable efforts to aid recovery in the region, which include initiatives from bold-faced names like chefs Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Danny Meyer, Dominique Crenn and Tyler Florence.
From Nov. 13 to 19, more than 140 restaurants from the Bay Area and across the country will join forces for ChefsGiving, a week-long event to support the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund and Restaurants Care. Restaurants will offer special menus, pop-up dinners and other fund-raising initiatives.
Chef Dominique Crenn will offer two dinners at Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn. "We are working on the menu, from caviar to turbot, from Krug Champagne to special wines from Sonoma and Napa," Crenn told Wine Spectator via email. Chef Nicolette Manescalchi of A16 is preparing a mushroom-focused menu paired with California wines. Over at SPQR, chef Matthew Accarrino is creating a pasta tasting menu. Foreign Cinema is offering a California wine flight for $37.
The fund-raising week will end with the Nov. 19 ChefsGiving Gala, which will feature a live auction and pours from more than 50 wineries. Through the week's events, ChefsGiving hopes to raise more than $1 million. For more information and tickets, visit ChefsGiving.org.
With Burgundy's biggest annual charity event—the Hospices de Beaune auction—coming up, some vintners are thinking of their friends on the California North Coast.
Château de Pommard, owned by North Bay local Michael Baum, will be holding a silent auction Nov. 17-19 (Hospices de Beaune weekend) to benefit the Rebuild Wine Country fire-relief charity, with lots including barrel tastings with the cellarmaster, a mixed case of the domaine's Clos Marey-Monge, and assorted single bottles back to the 1977 vintage. "We hope to not only raise money to benefit those affected by the fires, but to also bridge the connection between California and French wine countries while raising awareness and solidarity for the incredible efforts being made by the North Bay communities," said Château de Pommard representative Julie Albin. More information can be found at the domaine's website.
Saturday, Nov. 18
Wine and music fans in the North Coast will have a heady day Nov. 18: Doors open at noon for the Napa concert at Robert Mondavi Winery, where bands Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Vintage Trouble, will play in a concert organized by BottleRock. Franti "is a Bay Area local, having been raised here, and is by nature a very charitable and kind man. He has played in the Napa Valley many times and feels a connection to the region," said Michelle Perry, vice president, fine wine marketing, visitor programs and direct sales for Constellation Brands. "We will be pouring, among other wines, our Maestro 2014 red blend, which recalls Mr. Mondavi himself—a man who was always the first to lend a helping hand to those most in need."
All proceeds from the Napa concert will go to the Napa Valley Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. Tickets may still be available from Robert Mondavi Winery.
Saturday, Nov. 18
On the evening of Nov. 18, BottleRock is partnering with the Family Coppola and Sonoma State University to host "For the Love of Sonoma." The star act headlining the evening concert will be alt-rockers (and Bay Area locals) Counting Crows. “The spirit of community in wine country is strong, and we are resilient, and it’s times like these when we band together and help rebuild,” said Corey Beck, Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s president and director of winemaking, in a statement. Proceeds will benefit the North Bay Fire Relief Fund and Noma Gives.
Folk rocker Brett Dennen will open for the Crows at SSU's Green Music Center, with Coppola providing the libations from its line of wines. Tickets are being sold through SSU's website.
Monday, Nov. 20
The newly created Winemakers & Sommeliers for California Wildfire Relief (WSCWR) is hosting a fund-raiser at Tribeca Grill in New York City, in partnership with importer Frederick Wildman & Sons, on Monday Nov. 20. The group is spearheaded by wine professionals Patrick Cappiello, Pax Mahle and Sara Morgenstern.
The event will comprise of a walk-around tasting and a silent auction, with participating wineries from the Wildman California portfolio, including Harlan Estate, Heitz, Chappellet and Ridge, among others. All of the proceeds will go to CA Wine Strong, Redwood Credit Union's North Bay Fire Relief Fund and and the Napa Valley Community Foundation. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.com.
Tuesday, Nov. 21
Visit California has partnered with outdoor pop-up dinner specialist Outstanding in the Field for the Grateful Table, a communal-table event where celebrity chef Tyler Florence will cook for guests in a vineyard on the Napa-Sonoma county line. The pre-Thanksgiving feast will showcase local ingredients from the recent harvest.
All of the proceeds will go to the Napa Valley Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, the Sonoma County Resilience Fund, the Community Foundation of Mendocino County and the California Restaurant Association Foundation. Single tickets are $500, a table for 8 costs $4,000, and you can also purchase a "Share the Love" ticket for $250, which will contribute toward buying a seat for a first-responder or resident affected by the fires. More information and tickets can be found on the event's page.
Friday, Dec. 1
BottleRock is putting on a third benefit concert Dec. 1 headlined by rocker/vintners Train. It's at the Jam Cellars Ballroom at the Margrit Mondavi Theater in Napa. Tickets.
Friday, Dec. 1
Peloton Culinary & Catering, in partnership with the Cooperage Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, Calif., is calling a raffle Dec. 1, with all sales donated to the King Ridge Foundation for the Sonoma Pride Campaign. Among the prizes being offered is a lot billed as "the ultimate instant beer cellar," which includes more than 75 bottles of rare, hard to find, and aged beers, along with a couple 3-liter bottles of Russian River sours. Raffle tickets can be purchased via EventBrite.
Saturday, Dec. 2
Four of California’s top chefs will be serving a lavish four-course dinner as part of a charity fund-raiser to benefit relief efforts in the aftermath of October’s devastating wildfires in California wine country. "A Night of Friendship & Fellowship" will be held the evening of Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley.
Chef Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, Christopher Kostow of the Restaurant at Meadowood, Kyle Connaughton of SingleThread Farm and Stephen Durfee of the Culinary Institute of America will join forces to present the meal, which will be paired with some of Napa and Sonoma’s top wines.
"This is an inclusive event and really about the idea of the two valleys working together," said Matt Wilson, owner of the Napa-based Company Fine Wine and an event organizer. Also on tap are live and online auctions of top wines, and other luxury lots.
Funds raised from the dinner and auction will be distributed by Tipping Point through its Community Emergency Relief Fund. The list of charities includes Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa, the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and the Napa Valley Community Foundation, among others. Tickets are $2,500, and are available at www.napasonomarelief.org. Wine Spectator is a major sponsor of "A Night of Friendship & Fellowship." Find more information in Wine Spectator's Nov. 14 news story.
Sunday, Dec. 3
Rise Up Sonoma will be an evening of food from local chefs paired with Sonoma wines. Participating restaurants include Boulevard and the Plumed Horse in San Francisco, and Barndiva, Dry Creek Kitchen, Nick's Cove, Valette and Zazu Kitchen + Farm in Sonoma County, among many others. Wineries pouring include Carlisle, Iron Horse, Kistler, Kosta Browne and Siduri. Vintners will also bring 3-liter bottles of their wine to be in a silent auction that same evening.
All of the proceeds are going to six different charities, supporting ongoing emergency efforts and longer-term issues like housing. They are the Care Relief Fund, Redwood Credit Union Fund, UndocuFund Fire Relief for Sonoma County, Homes for Sonoma, Rebuild Wine Country and Burners Without Borders.
General admission is $500, with VIP entrance $1,500. You can purchase tickets via BrownPaperTickets.com.
Dozens of wineries, breweries, distilleries and restaurants around the North Bay are donating proceeds from sales at their tasting rooms and tables to various fire-relief charities. Find a running list of participants at the North Bay Fire Donations website.
On Nov. 13, OpenTable, an online platform for making restaurant reservations, announced the "Let's Raise the Glass" campaign, in which restaurateurs are pledging to donate a portion of California wine sales throughout the months of November and December to the Sonoma Resilience Fund and Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund. The idea was conceived by the management of Charleston Grill, and other participants include Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group and Daniel Boulud's Dinex Group.
"Our heart goes out to our wine country family, friends and neighbors impacted by the recent fires. The holidays are both a time to celebrate as well as lend a hand to those in need," a representative for Oakland, Calif.'s, Michel Bistro told Wine Spectator. You can search for participating restaurants at LetsRaisetheGlass.com.
The Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) revived the Disaster Relief Fund it established for the 2014 Napa earthquake. The NVCF is coordinating with the Napa Valley Community Organizations Active in Disaster, a coalition that the foundation put together to help nonprofits efficiently communicate and act together in an emergency. The groups are also working with local governments and other leaders in the nonprofit sector. Donations to the fund can be made at NapaValleyCF.org.
The California Association of Food Banks told Wine Spectator that the following food banks are helping with recovery and are accepting donations: Redwood Empire Food Bank, Community Action of Napa Valley Food Bank, SF-Marin Food Bank, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Yolo Food Bank, Fort Bragg Food Bank, Yuba-Sutter Food Bank, Alameda County Community Food Bank and California Emergency Foodlink.
The Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation announced that it is setting up a relief fund of its own, where 100 percent of the proceeds donated will go to the Red Cross of Northern California, the United Way of the Wine Country and the Napa Valley Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. Donations can be made at WomenoftheVine.com.
The Redwood Credit Union Community Fund has set up a North Bay Fire Relief Fund, in partnership with The Press Democrat and California State Sen. Mike McGuire. You can donate directly at RedwoodCu.org.
The ride-hailing app Lyft and the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley have partnered to offer reduced-fare taxi rides to tourists visiting the area. "Lyft stepped to the plate as a solution for attracting people for day trips to our wine region and offers the opportunity to support our economy and participate in fund-raising efforts championed by many of the participating wineries," said Ann Petersen, executive director of the winegrower association, in a statement.
From now through the end of December, the code LYFT2DCV will get you $10 off your first five rides in the Bay Area and Dry Creek Valley.
The wine-country fires were especially cruel to Mount Veeder Cabernet haven Segassia Vineyard. Owner Andrew Cates reported to that some 30 to 40 percent of the vineyard burned, and "our entire  crop was destroyed for winemaking purposes due to smoke damages."
But Cates isn't just a grapegrower: He's also a raisinator, as founder of Napa-based health snack business, the Wine RayZyn Company. "The wildfires ruined the flavor of winegrapes—there’s possible smoke taint, [which would] affect the aromatics of the finished wine in the future," Cates said via email. But—"the grapes were unusable for winemaking purposes only." We bet you can see where this is going.
As Segassia is hardly the only vineyard to lose its crop this year, Cates is taking the idea beyond his property. For the Rescue RayZyns project, he's hoping to get more than 100 tons of grapes for CabernayZyns (chocolate-covered and neat). Cates is attempting to raise $500,000 (using GoFundMe) to fund the processing and distribution of Rescue RayZyns and partnering with the Food Recovery Network to harvest smoke-damaged grapes. Then, a portion of proceeds from the Rescue RayZyn sales will be donated to California fire-relief charities, as well as victims of hurricanes Harvey and Maria.
Additional reporting by Kim Marcus and Victoria Sadosky