There has been a weird coincidence with tragic occurrences whenever I plan to go somewhere. First was the London bombing, which happened the day after I visited downtown London. Next is the Vegas shooting, which I already booked a trip next week. And now the Napa wildfire, which apparently I have been planning to go to for awhile now. These unfortunate events creep me out – but it never stopped me in pushing through and visiting these places still.
We drove for almost 2 hours from San Mateo, California to Napa Valley despite the locals telling us not to do so. According to them, the fire was the worst in the history of wildfires and the smoke even span from Napa to San Mateo. That stretch only is possible when mass loads of vineyards burn and continue to do so for days. The latest numbers include 41 people dead, 220,000 acres, and 2,800 homes burned. The impact to individuals and their lives in Napa Valley is as bad as it is in the wine industry. It takes 3-5 years for a planted vines to bear fruit, and burned vineyards and wineries take up a great percentage in their livelihood.
When me and my friends reached Napa Valley, we were pretty much astounded as to how beautiful the place is. There was no trace of smoke, nor burnt vineyards among the places that we visited. Wine tasting places resumed operations just this week. And the people of Napa Valley were as friendly and accommodating as ever. One significant change we noticed was the rise of price. From 25 usd of their usual wine tasting package – they decided to change it to 35 usd. The crew said they did so to help the recovery of those who were affected by the said fire. And tourist visiting their tasting cellars help a lot in that recovery.
I am a great fan of wines and cheese platters. My personal fave would be the classic Cabarnet Sauvignon – which I learned its grapes resist fire better than the other variants. This fact is pretty much helpful since most of the other variants are harvested already, and the Cab which remained in the vineyards had a better stand against fire than the others. All in all, it was a great experience to be part of the #FirstResponders of one of the wildest wildfire ever recorded in California. And yes, I will continue to drink Napa wine. And support this beautiful vineyard county.