The love in the air is thicker than the smoke

10 Days and Nights I’ll never forget….

Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Yuba County Fires

As you likely already know, I moved to Napa at the beginning of last year and a number of people on our team have been pouring their hearts into developing out our flagship property in the Rutherford AVA. A couple weeks ago we faced an unexpected challenge as wildfires ravaged hillsides, homes, and absolutely anything in their path. My personal home was close to the Atlas Peak fire and for a few days it was really uncomfortable not knowing where the winds were heading next. — Fires burning 3 miles to the west of Yountville.

Here is footage of the Atlas Peak Fire making it’s way down to Silverado Trail:

BY Thursday, the Atlas Peak fire no longer posed a threat to my home, but, the Nun’s Fire in the Mt. Veeder region behind the ONEHOPE property moved east toward the valley, and that is when my concerns escalated.

The ridge line of Mt. St. John (hill behind Estate8) caught fire on Thursday night as it crept from 4 miles away to 1.5 miles from our property. By Friday it was under 1 mile away and our small team was trading off monitoring the property. We bull dozed the 1 acre brush field next to our vineyard and had fire hoses and a water truck prepared if embers started to fall. In all, we were in about as safe of a location as you could be in Napa Valley as the irrigated vineyards behind our estate served as a fire break, but it was still an eye opening experience.

Aerial Google Earth Map of Fires by Thursday

Red squares shown were new fires that originated on Thursday within the last 6 hours. Orange was 6–24 hours. Yellow are fires that were already burning since 24 hours before.

The fire burned within 1 mile of our property for 5 more days until Tuesday. When faced with the reality of losing something, it really gives you a new perspective of how important it is to you. I’m a person that has never had a single physical possession that I really cared about and I’ve come to really only care about people and experiences. However, our property is different because to me, it represents people, a community, and our ideals more than it does a physical asset.

Below are videos of the fearless fire fighters putting out the fires that reached from Sonoma all the way over the ridge line to Napa incinerating Mt. St. John to Sugarloaf State Park and Mt. Veeder along the way. Videos taken from ONEHOPE’s property of the “largest aerial firefight in world history”.

Global SuperTanker for use of a 747 in firefighting efforts
More than 10,000 firefighters battled the blaze… Operating 1,000+ firetrucks, 73 helicopters and 36 planes

Time Lapse of Chinooks Dropping Water

10 days later, 95% of the fires throughout Napa and surrounding counties had been contained and most importantly all of our teammates, friends and partners were safe; however, a number of our friends, family members and neighbors lost their vineyards, homes and businesses, and their lives were turned upside down.

In all over 200,000 acres burned…
Photo: Noah Berger, Special To The Chronicle
More than 8400 homes and structures we damaged or destroyed… Homes destroyed from fires are seen from an aerial view in Santa Rosa.
100,000 people displace ….
Santa Rosa Resident —
And at least 42 people were killed…

DDuring those 10 days, and with the help of over 5,000 people, We’ve been able raise over $500,000+ and that number will likely continue to grow. This money will help fund the shipping and distribution of an estimated $2 million plus of short- and mid-term supplies donated by some big corporate partners who are providing product in-kind (hygiene, food, clothing, beds etc.), as well as cash to hold over the most financially challenged people impacted. Below are four of the organizations we are working with on the front lines.

A portion will also be donated to the heroes on the fire and rescue teams (including volunteer firefighters) who saved thousands of lives, homes, and businesses in Napa, Sonoma and the surrounding areas. First Responder Relief — for those local (in the Sonoma Valley) first responders affected by the fires, many of whom lost their own houses while they were saving others.

Santa Rosa Fire Department firefighters Tony Niel, left, Ray Spradlin and Alex Serrano take much needed rest to play with a dog, along Shillingford Place, that they rescued as fires continue to burn in all directions
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez — Volunteer fire fighters fought valiantly alongside the full-time fire fighters

The real work begins in the coming weeks, months and years to help people rebuild what was destroyed. At ONEHOPE we will continue with our commitment to help where we can and be a beacon of hope for people in this local community the same way we have been nationally and globally for the last decade.

We believe our property, community and wine will bring the world’s most influential and innovative leaders together to solve some of the world’s most complex challenges. The community ranges from athletes and musicians to entrepreneurs and executives who all share common ideals when it comes to family, community and giving back.

I’ve never felt so sure that we are developing this property and community in the right place. I feel more connected to the our vineyard, our Estate 8 residence, my city of Napa and our farming and vintner community than ever before. This community came together and stood up so strong and quickly in the face of chaos and intimidation… like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
Toronto Star — A sign posted outside Cline Cellars in Sonoma, California

In similar fashion our neighbors in the Bay Area, throughout California and beyond also stepped in to help wherever they could. I am SO GRATEFUL to get to call this place home and look forward to living in the Napa community and contributing to it for many years to come. Now the real work begins to recover and rebuild. I know we are up to the task!

Estate 8 surrounded by a haze of smoke