The Battle In Wine Country

October 22, 2017




    First, we are so thankful and humbled, by all of the notes and calls of concern from all of you asking about the well being of our teams and us. We are all okay. The closest fire was about 12 miles from our property and was contained early last week.


    Fire season happens every year in much of California from about May until the “rainy” season starts in November, but this year’s fires have been absolutely horrific in the number of lives lost, injuries that have occurred and in the losses of homes and entire communities. Our hearts and prayers go out to all. The recovery in human terms will never result in complete cure. We must never forget that. How do we respond?


    Amongst all of this great sorrow there are uplifting signs of humanity. Inspiring signs of service and courage. And, reassuring acts of steely human resolve.


    Dozens of local and state facilities, hundreds of businesses, churches and private homes opening their doors to effected neighbors and first responders. Generous donations of food, supplies and money pouring in. First responders and the medical community saving lives and treating the injured. All asking for nothing in return.


     There have been 130+ major wild fires this year across California. Our first responders fight them all. The wild fires in Northern California these past 8 weeks have consumed about 200 square miles. Currently, there are about 11,000 firefighters, 2,400 national guard members, 1,000’s of local police, fire and EMT personnel, 960 fire engines, 73 helicopters and 30 air tankers fighting these blazes. Our deepest thank you to all of our first responders. They head toward the battle. Please, be safe.


    “Red Flag Warnings”, or “Burn’Bans”, are common across California during the annual fire season. Don’t burn yard waste or trash and no bonfires come to mind first, but tinder for wildfires is everywhere. Seemingly innocuous activities like mowing your lawn or lighting a wood burning fireplace in your home can be hazardous this time of year. The lack of rain for about 7 months of the year is perfect to grow wines grapes, but also has resulted in a long history of wild fire activity in this region well before vineyards were ever planted. Wineries and vineyards are actually large agricultural operations. Large swaths of cultivated, planted and irrigated land, large teams, heavy equipment and crop harvests. If you own a vineyard, you are a farmer. Farmers have a long and proud history of respecting the land and reacting to natural disasters. Floods, droughts, disease, pestilence and fire.


Here is an example of “Steely Human Resolve”. It comes from one of our favorite Napa Valley wineries, Regusci Winery, from earlier this week.


This is a message we and others received from Laura and Jim Regusci on 10/13/2017:


“Hi Jim Langman, The last five days have been some of the toughest and most trying we have ever experienced here on the Ranch. For everybody that has offered kind words of support and offers to help, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Last Sunday night, we received word that a hill fire was rapidly approaching our home from Atlas Peak. As quickly as he could, Jim (Regusci) assembled a small team and went to work to keep the flames from consuming our structures. Late into the night and early into the morning, they tirelessly cut fire lines and extinguished flare-ups with our vineyard equipment and saved the property from ruin. We would like to recognize the brave efforts of…(our team)… for saving Regusci Ranch and several other properties along Silverado Trail this past Sunday. All members of our team are safe and accounted for, however several people lost their homes and we are working on setting up support funds for them. As of right now, we are without full power, water and clean air, but are working 24/7 to get the Ranch back on its feet. The hills behind our property are badly burned, but most of our vineyards are intact. Our wines and winemaking facilities have been continuously sustained using generator power and are unharmed.”


Here are some photos of their “Steely Human Resolve”- You clearly see where they successfully stopped the fire.



                                                                                                                                        “The Battle” Heavy equipment cutting a fire line.




Drone view looking over the Regusci Winery and homestead at the completely burnt hills that were battled. (point of reference is the three water silos to the left of the buildings in the center of this picture)




Drone view facing the opposite way, from over the burnt hills looking over the Regusci Winery and out onto the vineyard floor of Napa valley. (The three water silos are on the right side of the building in the center of this picture)


There is widespread loss and devastation and heartbreak. A fund has been set up to help; Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.


The people of this part of our country are in great need. Even the smallest donation will help



Sue and Jim Langman

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