2020 Napa #GlassFire update

Glass fire at Silverado Trail

October 21, 2020

To our friends in wine,

Thank you for the outpouring of love and support. Your messages and notes of encouragement are meaningful during this extraordinarily difficult time. This year has brought us unfathomable challenges. In the dead of night on September 28th, our home, a cedar shake bungalow nestled among old oaks in a quiet box canyon, burned to the ground along with every home in our community. Sixteen years of life in the vines reduced to a pile of ash in just an instant. We are utterly devastated.

The Glass Fire ignited on Sunday morning in the thick woods off Crystal Springs Road a couple miles down valley. It burst open and spread from 20 to 2500 acres in moments engulfing ‘Rattlesnake Ridge’ directly above us. How aptly named as we’ve recently had a few close calls with our unpredictable neighbors. The irony is cruel. Cal Fire’s brave but battle weary firefighters fought relentlessly for 24 hours while “Big Bertha” the starship 747 super fighter dropped retardant from overhead. Those golden hills draped in drought stricken vegetation have been here before. The fires of 2017 still burn in our memory. This time, the intolerable heat and erratic winds were too much to harness and the wind swept the monster over the ridge just before dawn. The battle was over.

Over 67,000 acres of pristine old oak and redwood forest, historic wineries, homes and schools were affected. The fire burned for 23 days but has now been 100% contained due to the heroic efforts of CalFire and first responders from around the county and Canada. It burn virgin land, never before threatened by fire as well as land previously inundated by the fires of 2017. 301 homes and 15 wineries have been destroyed or badly damaged by the fires.

The Land Trust of Napa was the first private land conservancy in the US (est.1976). Through it’s conservancy 15% of all the land in Napa County; pristine wilderness and heartwood, has been voluntarily protected from development for future generations to cherish as we do. It is all at risk and suffering along with the devastation of an agricultural community which thrives by growing grapes. The Glass Fire and Shady Fire have changed the face of of our environment beyond comprehension. Everyone in wine country desperately needs your support and encouragement. www.napalandtrust.org to learn more. The Napa valley Community Foundation is seeking support for those who lost their homes and wherewithal in the fire. If you are able to help please visit www.napavalleycf.orf to make a charitable donation.

I hope those of you who visited us in the “treehouse” will cherish your memories as much as we do. So many of our very best of times started with a visitor and the pop of a cork. It’s what drives us and Aratas Wine. We are not currently able to accommodate tasting appointment requests. For our friends on the east coast, we invite you to experience Aratas Wines at our Second Street Restaurants located in Newport News and Williamsburg Virginia. www.secondst.com

So here we are. While the good news is our winery is fine for the moment and our fermented wine is resting safely in the cellar. Regretfully, much of the 2020 grapes succumbed to smoke taint during the massive LNU fire just a couple weeks before. It’s a one two punch to the gut. So this year, our new baby, a lone Sauvignon Blanc, will carry the flag for Aratas Wine. It’s a lovely, elegant wine, harvested in the nick of time and we look forward to introducing it to your world.

Thank you for supporting our restaurants heavily weighted down by the Covid climate and for choosing our wines for your table. We hope you are in good health and in a good place. We can’t imagine what else could be lurking behind the next corner so now might be the time to drink your best wines first. I imagine you have felt defeated at one time or another this year while grappling with the cloud of Covid. We are in it with you and hope a glass of fine wine shared with a friend might make it a better. They say we’ll get through this….

With our gratitude and a heavy heart,

Stephanie Douglas