Wine news Mobilizes $800K for Wildfire Relief in Napa and Sonoma

Wine and charity are nothing new. But what if we don’t have thousands of dollars for a wine auction bid? Or, we want more than 10% of each bottle to go to charity? After last year’s wildfires, launched an innovative kickstarter-meets-wine fundraiser that rapidly raised and mobilized $800,000 for wildfire relief. Now, the community has already benefited tremendously, with emergency financial aid, food for low-income families, and even a school reopening. Here’s closer look at (and taste of) the results.

Tracing the Impact of a Bottle
The crowdfunding campaign was able to quickly make a positive impact by preselling wine, rather than having to wait for blending and bottling. An affordable $20 ask for three bottles of wine made deciding to donate easy. At that price point, many felt compelled to add larger side donations along the way. Ultimately, 100% of proceeds will be deployed towards wildfire relief. By the numbers:

  • $500,000 helped reopen The Anova School, a non-profit for children living with autism in Santa Rosa. The Anova School burned down during the wildfires, but now has class back in session at a temporary location with the support of the donation. Proceeds went to purchasing servers, computers, desks, chairs, and even musical instruments
  • $150,000 provided food, supplies, and cash assistance for low-income families and farmworkers, via the Napa Valley Community Foundation, Community Foundation Sonoma County, and Latino Community Foundation. The Latino community was particularly hard hit by the wildfires. Their Fire Relief Fund spread donations and support across three organizations in the North Bay Area — The North Bay Organizing Project in Santa Rosa, La Luz Center in Sonoma and UpValley Family Center in Calistoga. These organizations provide resources for the farmworker community, which is the backbone of the wine industry.
  • The remaining funds are in the process of being deployed by summer 2018.


The Wine
Of course, let’s not forget wine: the spark that started the outpouring of donations. The completely sold-out Cellar Crew Red Blend is truly one of a kind. It was made by the “Cellar Crew Cru”, the team behind every grape processing, fermentation, and blending at The team saw an opportunity to use their inside knowledge of each lot for a good cause.

The resulting Texas-California wine combines lots from each state at peak condition for blending into an innovative “Wine of America”-appellated blend. It’s 18% Texas Mourvedre, bringing ripe, dark fruit, 50% Lodi Shiraz and Merlot, for rich texture and tannin, and the remaining from the Sierra Foothills, El Dorado, and Sonoma for added complexity.

On the nose, the Cellar Cru American Red Blend offers a lively burst of bright red raspberry, plum, blackberry, and toasty oak. This is underscored by warm, toasty baking spices. On the palate, bold, juicy flavor is tempered by subtly textured tannins. Its medium body and acidity make this the perfect companion to barbecued meats, pulled pork, or even a Greek-style roast lamb with kalamata olives.

Missed out on the Cellar Cru American Red Blend? At this point, the wine is completely sold out, with the remaining bottles given to Angels in thanks for their overwhelming generosity. However, the Cellar Cru team and are blown away by the tremendous support from the community, and are determined to continue giving back. Stay tuned to catch the next Cellar Cru endeavor in 2018.


Leave a Reply