Wine Country. Some words & how to help.

TLDR – here’s how you can help wine country during this time of tragedy.

It pains my heart to do another one of these posts.

On Monday morning around 3:00a, like many in San Francisco, I woke up in my apartment convinced my building was on fire. The smell of something burning was strong, ash was everywhere in my bathroom, & the air was thick. I was also alone as Erik is traveling internationally. It was a terrifying, sobering moment. Very quickly, I realized my apartment was not on fire but the situation was no better.

Wildfires erupted in wine country and the wind blew the smoke & ash to San Francisco. The burning smoky smell still haunts San Francisco and with every breath taken, it’s a very grave reminder of what’s going on right across from us in the Bay.  San Francisco is currently safe but it’s very eerie here. The skies are yellow & red, the fog is replaced with smoke, & every breath tastes & smells like fire.

I have been in a state of mourning since waking up that morning. I’ve felt numb over the past few days. I still am. It’s the worst heartbreak I’ve experienced. It’s hard with Erik gone too because ever since I’ve known him, he gives me strength when I don’t have it. Right now, I don’t have it. I won’t sugarcoat it but I’ve felt a light turn off from inside of me ever since I woke up from the smoke on Monday. I’m trying really hard to turn it back on but right now I just can’t. To be honest, I think it dimmed slowly with each tragedy that hit in such a short amount of time & now it’s finally out. On top of that, I feel so selfish saying all this since I am not dealing with it directly. I felt similarly with Houston too. I feel guilty for being safe. So then those selfish feelings eat away and it’s one giant cartesian circle.

To get a little personal, wine country is the place where my life changed – I got a little nostalgic here about it. The photo I used (also here) was my first apartment in California in Healdsburg. I will always remember when I decided to make a change in my life and leave Dallas, I came to visit my new home about a week after I decided to leave. It was my first time in both San Francisco & Napa Valley as a whole. I knew it in my bones that it was the right decision the second I made it and it was confirmed the second I stepped foot here. Seeing the vineyards as I drove through Napa (with no idea where I was going) was one of the most pivotal, powerful memories of my life. As much as time gives, it sure does take.

California wine country is one of the most magical places on this earth.

One thing to remember is that it’s not just luxurious wineries & tasting rooms. There’s so much more than that there. It’s farmland & a labor of love and time… lots of it. I’ve read of wineries being able to hear their wine – the fruits of their labor for YEARS – boiling. More than that, its people behind all of that, & such wonderful people at that. They are people who bring YOU so much joy. They are people with families and homes and pets of their own. It’s so much more than wine, but the people here. Here is a very sobering look at everything going on.

There’s a lot of uncertainty here too. That’s another thing that’s really hard to grasp is being so close to it and having no idea on when it will end. The smoke in the air & the red sun continues to be the ominous reminder that it’s far from over.

As of now, 21 (& climbing) are dead, and over 2,000 buildings, wineries, & homes have been destroyed.

I apologize as it took me so long to make this post but I have had no idea what to say. I still don’t. I’ve felt pretty helpless so I’ve been researching on ways to help.

That said, here in San Francisco, please let me know. I will be there and do what I can.

Here is how you can help in Napa NOW –  thoughts and prayers are nice but they need physical help. I cannot reiterate this enough – I tried to source from all over the web including Facebook.

DONATE FINANCIALLY

text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation

Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund

Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership

Official GoFundMe’s / YouCaring

Personal GoFundMe’s
i also recommend searching the site for any that you’d like to help as there is no shortage. will add more as they come up in my network. here is an aggregated list. 

Food Pantries

HOW TO HELP LOCALLY

  • sign up as a Red Cross Volunteer here
  • if you do not have to evacuate, do NOT use the routes. leave them for the people who need them.
  • do not use drones to capture any of this – they interfere with aircrafts
  • If you’re an Airbnb host based in California, you can offer housing for free for evacuees and relief workers through October 30. More on their Open Homes program here.
  • Register as a disaster service worker here
  • Do NOT call 911 or emergency services because you smell smoke. ONLY CALL if you are in a life threatening situation or you see active flames unattended.
  • Donate to local shelters – more below
  • Foster a stray pet if you can. As always, a reminder that now is more important than ever to rescue animals vs buying.
  • Help shelters with the following items: bedding, tons & tons of water, blankets, diapers for all ages, clothing, food, toiletries, pet food & bowls, feminine products, air mattresses, yoga mats {help as beds}, underwear, phone chargers.
  • If you are in the surrounding areas or safe from the fire, check in on Facebook so loved ones know your status. This is a very powerful social media tool during distress.
  • If you’re a blogger / influencer, especially a local bay area one, utilize your platform on how to help. Don’t be tonedeaf.
  • Contact wineries and see if they need any volunteers or additional help.
  • Contact local fire departments and see if there’s anything they need.
  • HipCamp is connecting evacuees who cannot return to or lost their homes with those who have space from ranches, bed & breakfasts, RV’s, etc. If you need to be added to the list, e-mail Julie.Kukral@hipcamp.com

SAN FRANCISCO DONATION DROP OFF LOCATIONS

Other places in SF accepting donations ::

  • Mauna Loa, 3009 Fillmore St (Mauna Loa will also host a fire relief fundraiser on Saturday and on Sunday)
  • Tupelo, 1337 Grant Ave
  • Hara Club, 875 Geary St (The Hara Club will hold a supply drive on Thursday from 5 p. to 10 p.m.)
  • Taverna Aventine, 582 Washington St
  • The Dubliner, 3838 24th St
  • The Alembic, 1725 Haight
  • Liholiho Yacht Club, 871 Sutter St
  • William Sonoma, 3250 Van Ness (through October 13)
  • Fort Point Beer Company, 644 Old Mason Street

{ source }

HOW TO HELP THE ANIMALS

Donate Financially

Donate Items /  Volunteer / Foster

  • shelters need pet beds & pet bedding, litter pans, dog & cat bowls, toys to calm the animals, cages, carriers, lots of food. animals range from dogs, cats, birds, horses, cattle, livestock.
  • check Napa Community Animal Response Team  on how to help & volunteer
  • Comprehensive post by Sonoma County Animal Services on how to help
  • If you can, open your home to shelter cats / dogs via Milo Foundation

STAY UP TO DATE w/ these fire maps

Wherever you are :: If you drink wine, please consider buying from Napa & Sonoma. Think of all the times that glass or bottle was there for you when you needed it. They need you more than anything right now. If you need help finding wineries, shoot me a note and I’ll find them for you.

I’m sorry for the change of tone here, but it’s eaten away at me and it’s hard to post my usual light hearted content when the people I love, an industry I love, an area I love, & my first California home is hurting so bad right now. Again, they & the wine was there for me when I needed them so I need to do the same. If I’ve seemed distant, it’s because I have been & I’m sorry. I’ll be taking the rest of the week off but will be back come Monday.

Thank you for your time & reading. If you are in San Francisco, this weekend I am cleaning out my closet and donating everything (I already have a giant bin of women’s clothing I was going to sell on Poshmark / Tradesy which I am no longer doing) – if you want to do the same, let me know and we can coordinate.

I will be putting the above in a permanent place next to #HOUSTONSTRONG in my main menu shortly. This is a long road to recovery so anything helps at any time.

Napa / Sonoma / Santa Rosa / North Bay, you have been on my mind & I am sending my love your way. I am praying for your safety – I’ve never prayed for anything so hard. I mean this full-heartedly, however you need me to help, I am there.

Another reminder that life can change in a split second. Hug & cherish your loved ones and sweet pets.

If you know of any ways to help, please share in the comments – thank you xx

Shannon

  • Comments ( 12 )

  • This is beautifully written, and I understand 100% what you mean about feeling guilty with so many devastating things happening all around. Keep your head up, and thank you for sharing so many resources for donations and volunteer opportunities! xo Jana | http://www.janastyleblog.com

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Jana, it means the world. It’s such a strange feeling but at least another day brings with it hope. Thanks for your support & love xx

  • Juliann Brown

    It’s a terrible tragedy when you feel helpless as you watch the place you love slowly deteriorate. Hang in there and the universe will answer your prayers!

    • Ugh, it’s been awful. So heartbreaking & it’s STILL going on. Luckily rain is forecasted for this week which is SO necessary. Thanks for the love xx

  • Briana Trevino

    So sad to hear about this! You offered some great ways to help!

    Briana
    https://beyoutifulbrunette.com/

  • it is really painful and terrifying all these tragedy happening right now. </3 wishing you recovery as these places recover too. stay strong.

    Courtney Bentley || http://www.starsystemz.com

  • Thank you for sharing this – it’s so important to help and donate!

    Linda

    • More important than ever – thank you so much for your support, Linda <3

  • So sad about this.. thanks for sharing, it is very important to support the help!
    xx
    cvetybaby.com

    • Of course! Happy to spread the word as much as I can. Wine country needs us all. xx

TOP