Wineries and Wildfires

Spirited Quill, winery fires, Cairenn Rhys, The Spirited Quill
A fire threatens a vineyard northeast of Napa, Calif., on Monday. (Michael Short / Associated Press)

With such a tremendous loss in California due to the wildfires, it is easy to write off the importance of the wineries and the losses they are suffering. After all, wine is luxury.

Please do not have a lack of concern for the wineries in these fires. We need our vineyards in those wildfire prone areas. Firefighters use the vineyards to gauge where the fire may spread next, which saves lives and resources.

Vineyards are a natural firebreak this time of year because of the moisture in the ground. Almost 85% of the harvest was complete when the fire broke out, which means the vines had not yet gone dormant (dry) and so the ground/vines were still wet in those areas. Even though the loss has been heavy, the worst in CA history, if the vineyards were not there, it would be even greater loss of life.

There are areas were the fire stopped right on the line where the vines were planted. Homes and businesses were spared. Some of the wineries have been family-owned for a one or two centuries. Not all are big names estates…there are a lot of mom & pop indie wineries all over Sonoma and Napa that rely on their home vineyards to live.

From an economic standpoint (and if you think the loss of wineries will not affect you because you have nothing to do with wine and you do not live in CA), some of those wineries have product on the shelves where I work. They are in your grocery and liquor stores and restaurants, bars. It’s lost revenue for cities and towns all over the world.

Just to put it a little in perspective:

I just read a report from a CA winery that they could hear the wine boiling in the barrels.

Ancient Celtic Simbols.



Celtic symbols were used as a protection tool, to infuse courage to warriors, to defeat their enemies, to gain love or to mark the way forward.

The Celts transmitted their knowledge through engravings, some of which have come down to us thanks to which they were carved from hard materials like stones, iron or bronze. Their geometric drawings hide centuries of beliefs, rituals and magical powers that few know.

Celtic symbols have been linked to the Druids and with them to nature. Here you will find the meaning of the most famous Celtic symbols:

The triquetra:


-The triquetra or later also called triquel, is a symbol of Indo-European origin that alludes to the triple dimension of the female divinity. It also symbolizes life, death and rebirth (life, death and reincarnation for the Celts).

Also known as the Trinity Knot resembles the Ouroboros, an ancient infinity symbol. The triquetra is constructed…

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Wine Is Bottled Poetry

This wonderful quote is imprinted on a pewter wine charm that currently hangs on my desk lamp. As I gaze upon it writing this, I reflect upon last Thursday when I found myself in a meeting with the owner of a new wine bar that is opening up in my town. It’s all the buzz within the community of which I have found myself connected to way beyond anything I could have imagined.

How did I get this meeting?

One of my co-workers and I were standing in front of the wine section within the shop where we work. We were going through and checking inventory and commenting on the choices. I told her even I was surprised to see a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo on our shelf. Her jaw dropped. She said, “The Somm from the new wine bar was here last week said the same exact thing!” (Could it be that I do actually know about this stuff?) She goes on to tell me that she knows the owner, and encouraged me to get a meeting with him. To make sure to use her name.

I didn’t use her name. Not a name-dropping kind of person. I found his email address on the website and shot off an inquiry. To my surprise, he answered my email immediately and within 10 minutes I had a meeting with him. I truly had no idea what I was doing, and only hoped that maybe there was an opportunity to advance in my wine education.

My co-worker informed me the night before my meeting that the guy has a 3,000-bottle wine cellar at home.

Oh my. I figured I would get 5 minutes of his valuable time, just long enough for him to chew me up, spit me out and I would go home in tears.

I arrived early, and he was late. He walked off the elevator, marched right up to me, introduced himself and said, “Leave your things here. We’re going to take a walk.”

He proceeded to give me a grand tour of the hotel, banquet area (already booked 2 years out before they even opened). Down back stairwells telling me all about the plans for the entire street district of new businesses going in. Then we walked across the street, and he took me into his wine bar. From the moment I stepped inside, he was sharing with me the design, all the plans for every square foot of the place. Walking over cords and pipes and chunks of drywall, I was standing in the center where everyone in town wanted to be, getting the inside scoop. My mind was reeling.

I know several people in the wine industry whose heads will explode when I tell them where I was Thursday at 3:00 p.m while they were struggling to figure out how they were going to survive the opening of his bar. There I was, being told where each and every seat in the house was going to be placed. And then some. I was excited. I was impressed. I was also concerned for those other places in town – my friends in wine.

After the tour was over, we went back to the hotel bar and sat down for a chat. He explained to me that he wants every person he hires to be on the WSET or Court of Masters track, even the cashier at the front of house. His chef is going to be on “Beat Bobbie Flay”. The opening is 5 weeks out. He is going to create a place for me and wants me on staff in some capacity. He will contact me and make an offer soon.

By the way, I sold all of that Montepulciano on the shelf at work in less than one week. I start the next level of WSET courses in June.

Whether his offer is one I can refuse or not, we shall see. He’s not messing around and neither am I.

UPDATE: Offer made, I accepted.   ;)


Cairenn Rhys, Spirited Quill, wine