Winemaking. Life. The Dirt. Alison Crowe is a Winemaker Based in Napa.

Give a Happy Thanksgiving to Wine Country Fire Survivors

Thanksgiving plateIt’s been exactly a month since the Wine Country/North Bay Wildfires were raging at their height across much of Northern California.  Since then, Harvest has ended, the air has cleared, schools and roads are open once again and life is slowly (very slowly) returning to “normal” for most families.


For some, however, “normal” won’t happen anytime soon.  As I make my own lists for organizing my family’s Thanksgiving in Napa, I couldn’t help but round up another one:  a list of organizations to which you can donate your money, time or wine in order to help someone affected by the fires.  Let’s help everyone to have a happier Thanksgiving.


Sonoma Family MealSonoma Family Meal: They Need Monetary Donations

Sonoma Family Meal is a grass-roots organization that sprung up during the fires, bringing together a coalition of chefs, hospitality, and culinary workers who desperately wanted to help those in need.  Since October 15, Sonoma Family Meal has prepared and distributed over 50,000 meals to North Bay Area residents free of charge.  A number of my good friends in the “cheffing” community are involved in this important and effective project.  They need your financial help to put Thanksgiving on the table for needy local families.  Click here to donate.


RedwoodRedwood Gospel Mission Great Thanksgiving Banquet: Donate and Volunteer

The Redwood Gospel Mission is holding a giant, free Thanksgiving dinner at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa on Weds Nov 22 11 AM-7:00 PM.  there will also be free haircuts, showers, a bouncy house and all-around family community.  You can volunteer your time, donate or, if you are a fire victim, register to receive a free turkey and family food box at the above link.


CANVCommunity Action of Napa Valley/Napa Food Bank: Donate

CANV/Napa Food Bank is Napa Valley’s main food bank organization and they are always in need of extra funds during the busy holiday season.  By clicking the link above you can put your money towards the food bank or “where it is needed most”.



CommunitySonoma Community Center Free Thanksgiving Dinner:  Volunteer your time

The Sonoma Community Center will host its annual Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov 23 and this year they expect more people than ever to come.  Please consider volunteering your time to help serve.  This year’s dinner is brought to you by the Rotary of Sonoma Valley, cheesemaker Gary Edwards, and chef Daniel Quijada.




ChefsgivingChefsGiving: Help house the displaced by eating, drinking and celebrating

We sure know how to wine and dine in Northern California and with ChefsGiving, everyone in the Bay Area now has the ability to do good while enjoying a good meal.  Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn is behind this week of special tasting menus at Bay Area restaurants and a Nov 19 gala fundraiser in San Francisco.  ChefsGiving’s goal is to raise money to help find temporary and permanent housing for fire victims.  “ChefsGiving Week” is Nov 13-19 and on Nov 19th join local chefs at the San Francisco Ferry Building for the final Chefsgiving benefit gala.  Click on the above link to find a Chefsgiving event near you.
 Donate wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverages

It’s the little things…. to some out of the area it might seem trivial, but beverages are really (really!) important to so many of us in Wine Country.  We work and live in the drinks business and for so many folks, a key piece of getting “back to normal” is getting to enjoy a glass of something at the end of a long day.  Along with their homes, many folks also lost personal collections of precious local vintages. So many displaced people now don’t have the time, money or brain-space to  engage in those little acts of self-care like sharing a bottle of wine with family at dinner or making a special juice drink for their kids at Thanksgiving.  Hence, “Comfort Drinks”, a brainchild of Sonoma-based freelance writer and community leader Sarah Stierch.  By “Bringing bottles of joy to disaster victims”, Comfort Drinks links up fire survivors who have lost their homes with donations of wine, beer, non-alcoholic drinks and glasses, bar ware etc..  Email or click on the link in the header above to make a donation.


Alison Crowe is the Director of Winemaking and a Partner at Plata Wine Partners in Napa and the Winemaker for Garnet Vineyards and Picket Fence Vineyards.  She is thankful this holiday season that her house and family survived the North Bay Wildfires intact and encourages everyone to give what and how they can this Thanksgiving.

Twitter/Instagram:  @alisoncrowewine

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