Ed Wallace, Calpine Employee, Donates $2,500 to #LakeCountyRising Fire Relief Fund

Lake County, Calif. September 2, 2016. – Organizers of the #LakeCountyRising fundraising effort received a generous $2,500 donation today from Edward Wallace, a Calpine employee.

Wallace recently received Calpine’s prestigious ASPIRE award for his passion and dedication at work. This national award was given to three recipients across Calpine’s fleet of 84 power plants. Wallace, a resident of American Canyon, is an Operator Technician III at Calpine’s Wolfskill Energy Center in Fairfield, California. As part of the award, Wallace was given $2,500 to donate to a charity of his choosing.

When hearing about the fire from fellow ASPIRE award winner, Calpine Geysers employee Matthew Smith of Cobb, Wallace instantly decided on #LakeCountyRising as the organization for his donation. “I am extremely moved by the spirit and optimism shown by folks in Lake County,” said Wallace. “I am hopeful that this donation will help the impressive recovery efforts already underway.”

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Lake County’s Matthew Smith was also an awardee for his calm leadership during the Valley Fire. He was on duty the night the fire swept through The Geysers area and made critical decisions, minute-by-minute during the ordeal, even as he faced the fact that his own home had been destroyed by the fire.
 
“I am so touched by the generosity of this donation,” said Terry Dereniuk, Executive Director for Lake County Winery Association, which received the funds for #LakeCountyRising. “The fires in 2015 and the most recent Clayton Fire have left behind huge disruption in the lives of so many people. Funds raised by #LakeCountyRising have helped with the rebuilding process where other funding sources were not available.”

Calpine was an early supporter of #LakeCountyRising through a $15,000 initial donation and subsequently hosted a successful fundraising golf tournament resulting in an additional $15,000 donation.

Wine Industry’s #LakeCountyRising Fund Supports Clayton Fire Survivors

Kelseyville, Calif., August 15, 2016 – The #LakeCountyRising fundraising campaign announced today that it is accepting donations to support survivors of the Clayton Fire. Lake County’s wine industry is once again coming together to support yet another wildfire in Lake County, this time in the small community of Lower Lake.

The Clayton Fire, which started Saturday evening, is estimated to have burned 4,000 acres and destroyed 175 structures, with 5% containment on Monday afternoon, according to the CAL FIRE incident update.

#LakeCountyRising was established in September 2015 in the wake of the Valley Fire, which burned 76,000 acres, destroyed 1,300 homes and took four lives. Once again, thousands of Lake County residents are displaced from their homes by the wildfires. Many have been separated from pets and loved ones and are waiting to learn the fate of their homes and businesses.

The #LakeCountyRising fund has again mobilized. To donate, visit: http://lakecountyrising.org/donate/. To donate by check, send your check made payable to Lake County Wine Alliance, memo “Lake County Rising Fire Relief Fund,” to:

Lake County Wine Alliance
P.O. Box 530
Kelseyville, CA 95451

Donors who have contributed to this fund in the past are encouraged to continue their support by donating again.

The #LakeCountyRising fund has raised over $1,000,000 to date. Contributions have been used to support community recovery after the devastating Valley Fire, with funds going to a wide range of community based organizations. Approximately one-third of funds raised were used to support short term needs with another third for medium term needs. The balance has been allocated for long-term community rebuilding. For details, visit http://lakecountyrising.org/giving-back/.

About #LakeCountyRising
#LakeCountyRising is a fundraising effort to support community rebuilding in the areas ravaged by the recent wildfires in Lake County with a focus on livelihood, housing and community needs. The effort was initiated by three Lake County organizations – the Lake County Winegrape Commission, the Lake County Winery Association and the Lake County Wine Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that manages the collection and distribution of tax-deductible donations.

#LakeCountyRising Charity Wine Auction raises more than $150,000 for Valley Fire Relief

St. Helena, CA (March 22, 2016) – Lake, Napa and surrounding county residents joined #LakeCountyRising to raise more than $150,000 at the Charity Wine Auction on Sunday at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, CA.

More than 100 guests gathered for the Charity Wine Auction, among whom were Linda Reiff of Napa Valley Vintners, Cyril Chappellet of Chappellet Winery, and Clay Shannon, owner of Shannon Ridge Family of Wines. Proceeds from Sunday’s auction were generated from the event’s 10 live auction lots, 20 silent auction lots, ticket sales, and donations from attending guests and supporters.

Since the devastating Valley Fire, which scorched more than 115 square miles, destroyed 1,300 homes, and claimed the lives of four Lake County residents, #LakeCountyRising has raised nearly $1 million for Valley Fire Relief. At the Charity Wine Auction, it was apparent the overwhelming support from community members and wine industry supporters continues, even six months after the fire.

The afternoon opened with speakers Andy Beckstoffer and US Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05), who commented on the deep and historic connection between Napa and Lake Counties. Focusing on the growth of Lake and Napa counties in the last 150 years, Beckstoffer highlighted the deep-rooted connection between the two counties, reminding guests that prior to 1851, Lake was actually part of Napa County.

Andy Beckstoffer opens Sunday’s event by discussing the historic relationship between Lake and Napa counties. Photo: Nathan DeHart

Andy Beckstoffer opens Sunday’s event by discussing the historic relationship between Lake and Napa counties. Photo: Nathan DeHart

In recounting the fire’s devastation, Congressman Mike Thompson shared numerous anecdotes from evacuees and supporting community members who came together in the days following the Valley Fire’s devastation. His personal accounts of residents like Karen Cakebread, who provided meals to evacuees at the emergency shelter at the Calistoga fairgrounds, further demonstrated the joint coalition between Lake and Napa county residents.

US Congressman Mike Thompson shares stories from evacuees and supporters following Valley Fire devastation. Photo: Nathan DeHart

US Congressman Mike Thompson shares stories from evacuees and supporters following Valley Fire devastation. Photo: Nathan DeHart

The two most popular live auction lots from Sunday included (1) “Personal Barrel Lot of 2016 Cabernet from Beckstoffer’s famed Georges III Heritage Vineyard and Crafted by Sinegal Estate”, and (2) “Taste of Napa Valley Heritage”, which included dinner for two couples with Andy and Betty Beckstoffer at PRESS Napa Valley, four magnums from Beckstoffer’s Heritage Vineyards, a selection of famed Napa Valley wines to complement dinner, and a copy of Kelli White’s Napa Valley Then & Now. After receiving competitive bids from multiple bidders, both auction lots were made available to the first and second bidders, which raised a combined $81,000 for Sunday’s event.

Auctioneer Fritz Hatton leads bidding on the event’s 10 live auction lots. Photo: Nathan DeHart

Auctioneer Fritz Hatton leads bidding on the event’s 10 live auction lots. Photo: Nathan DeHart

Apart from auction lots, the event also showcased Lake County wines, poured by Aliénor Wines, Boatique Winery, Bodkin, Brassfield Estate Winery, Calvino Jones, Chacewater Winery, Fore Family Vineyards, Fults Family Vineyards, Gregory Graham Wines, Hawk and Horse Vineyards, Jelly Jar, Langtry Estate, Obsidian Ridge Vineyard, R Vineyards, Rock Wall Wine Company, Rosa d’Oro Vineyards, Shannon Ridge Family of Wines, Six Sigma Ranch, Sol Rouge and Steele Wines.

A special thanks is given to notable bidders, particularly Dwight Haldan, Tor Kenward and Todd Zapolski, who greatly contributed to the success of Sunday’s event.

In addition to these contributors, the event would not have been possible without the generous support of Tom Bensel, Bob Bath, and the faculty and staff at the Culinary Institute of America, including Andy Wild, who not only led the culinary team at Sunday’s event, but headed a team of chefs at the evacuation center in the weeks following the Valley Fire.

About #LakeCountyRising
#LakeCountyRising is a collaborative fundraising effort of the Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association and Lake County Wine Alliance to support long-term rebuilding in response to the devastating Valley Fire.

Thompson, Beckstoffer and Hatton to Lead #LakeCountyRising Charity Wine Auction

Lake County, Calif. – Congressman Mike Thompson and grape-grower Andy Beckstoffer have agreed to assist legendary auctioneer Fritz Hatton as he manages the #LakeCountyRising charity wine auction to be held on March 20, 2016, in St. Helena at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone to support the long-term rebuilding efforts after the devastating Valley Fire in southern Lake County. “Think of us as the three auctioneers” says Hatton of the trio’s presentation of the collaborative fundraising effort of the Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association and Lake County Wine Alliance.

Seating for the event is limited and advance registration is required. Tickets are $150 and may be still purchased online at www.lakecountyrising.org/charity-auction, but a few tickets are being reserved for sale at the door. “We promise not to turn any bidders away!” says Beckstoffer.

The auction has assembled a remarkable collection of lots and experiences, led by the Napa Valley Vintners, Lake County Winery Association and other wine region associations around the state.

  • Winners of a Michelin 3-Star live auction lot will indulge in a dining experience for three couples at The Restaurant at Meadowood, Napa Valley. They will enjoy six sumptuous full tasting menus with wine pairings (inclusive of tax and service). Winners will also take home three bottles each of sought-after Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons from the renowned wineries: 2011 Harlan Estate Red Wine, 2005 Heitz Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2012 Scarecrow Wine Mt. Etain Red Blend.
     
  • A personal barrel lot by Beckstoffer Vineyards will provide a half ton of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the 2016 harvest of the Georges III Heritage Vineyard in Rutherford and includes the expertise of the winemaking team at Sinegal Estate who will custom crush, craft, barrel, age, bottle, and label the finished wine specifically for the successful bidder.
     
  • A 2016 Polaris Ranger EV is being offered as the “green” live auction lot and comes fully loaded with 100 bottles of the finest Napa Valley wines. This environmentally-friendly electric off-road utility vehicle is known for its smooth ride and quiet operation. The wines are from Napa Green Certified vintners: Benessere, Charles Krug, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Davies Vineyards, Franciscan Estate, Frank Family Vineyards, Frog’s Leap, Gamble Family Vineyards, HALL, Heitz Wine Cellars, Jones Family Vineyards, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Keenan Winery, Laura Michael Wines, Merryvale Vineyards, PEJU, Raymond Vineyards, Robert Mondavi Winery, Saintsbury, Salvestrin, Signorello Estate, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery, Starmont Winery & Vineyards, Swanson Vineyards, The Hess Collection Winery, Trefethen Family Vineyards, Truchard Vineyards, Vineyard 29 and ZD Wines.
     
  • An ultimate San Francisco Giants game experience at AT&T Park has been created for another lucky live auction winner. With luxury transportation to the ball park, 12 guests will luxuriate in a private VIP Suite filled with gourmet food and Napa Valley wines, and will take home a signed baseball from Barry Bonds to remember the day.
     
  • Another live auction lot includes four magnums of wine from several of Beckstoffer Vineyards’ Heritage Vineyards and the opportunity for two couples to join Andy and Betty Beckstoffer at PRESS Napa Valley in St. Helena for a curated dinner complemented by several To Kalon wines. Each couple also will receive a signed copy of sommelier Kelli White’s new book, Napa Valley Then & Now.
     
  • A silent auction item from the “Heart of the Valley,” includes dinner for four at Mustard’s Grill in Yountville and a mixed case of Napa Valley wine including: two bottles Far Niente 2013 Chardonnay; two bottles Joseph Carr Wine 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon; two bottles Tom Scott Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon; two bottles Grgich Hills Estate 2012 Chardonnay; two bottles The Prisoner 2014 Red Blend; one bottle Faust 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon; and one bottle Silver Trident 2012 Red Blend.
  • The “Hillside Heaven” silent auction item features lunch for four at The Bistro & Bar at Aubérge du Soleil in Rutherford, and a mixed case of Napa Valley hillside wines including six bottles of 2013 Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, and six bottles 2013 Viader Vineyards & Winery Tempranillo.
     
  • “Northern Exposure” is a silent auction item of dinner for four at Sam’s Social Club in Calistoga and a mixed case of wine from the northern end Napa Valley, including: one bottle Arietta 2013 White Blend; one bottle Behrens Family Winery 2012 Homeland Cabernet Sauvignon; one bottle Behrens Family Winery 2011 The Collector Red Wine; one bottle Bridesmaid 2012 White Blend; one bottle Bridesmaid 2012 Red Blend; one bottle Clark-Claudon Vineyards 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon; one bottle Markham Vineyards 2013 Merlot; one bottle Saint Helena Winery 2008 Red Blend; two bottles Ballentine Vineyards 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel; and two bottles Castello di Amorosa 2012 Sangiovese.
     
  • From the Napa Valley’s southern end comes a silent auction item named “Distinctly Southern” and includes dinner for four at Cole’s Chop House in downtown Napa and a mixed case of Napa Valley wine, including: five bottles Arrow & Branch 2013 Sauvignon Blanc; five bottles Jamieson Ranch Vineyards 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon; and two bottles Rocca Family Vineyards 2011 Red Blend.
     
  • For the silent auction bidder who has an alternative mind-set, “Riveted by Reds,” includes a copy of the fine art photography book Perspectives Napa Valley, and a mixed case of Napa Valley alternative red varietals, including: two bottles Mira Winery 2011 Syrah; two bottles Castello di Amorosa 2012 Sangiovese; two bottles Viader Vineyards & Winery 2013 Tempranillo; two bottles Kenefick Ranch 2011 Cabernet Franc; one bottle Cornerstone Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc; one bottle Madrigal Family Winery 2012 Petite Sirah; one bottle Humanitas Wines 2012 Cabernet Franc; and one bottle Joseph Carr Wine 2012 Merlot.
     
  • A “Napa Valley Cabernet Fest” is a silent auction lot which includes a mixed case (one bottle each) of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Chateau de Vie 2009 Calistoga; Cimarossa 2011 Howell Mountain; Corison Winery 2013 St. Helena; FARM Napa Valley 2013 Napa; Faust 2012 Rutherford; Reverie Vineyard & Winery 2010 Calistoga; Lamborn Family Vineyards 2011 Howell Mountain; O’Brien Estate 2012 Napa; Joseph Carr Wine 2012 Rutherford; Silver Stag Winery 2012 Napa; Tom Scott Vineyard 2012 Yountville; Rudd Oakville Estate 2011 Oakville; and a copy of the fine art photography book Perspectives Napa Valley.

Those who would like to bid but aren’t able to attend can check the www.lakecountyrising.org/charity-auction web site after March 1 for lot descriptions and advance bidding details.

Those who aren’t able to attend but want to help can click the “Get Tickets” button, and then choose “Donation” instead of the “Live Auction” ticket to make a donation in any amount. Donations are tax-deductible.

#LakeCountyRising presents

Valley Fire Relief
Charity Wine Auction

Sunday, March 20, 2016
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Vintner’s Hall of Fame at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
2555 Main Street, St. Helena, California 94574
 

About #LakeCountyRising and the Valley Fire Relief Charity Wine Auction
The Valley Fire Relief Charity Wine Auction is presented by #LakeCountyRising, a collaborative fundraising effort of the Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association and Lake County Wine Alliance to support long-term rebuilding in response to the devastating Valley Fire.

#LakeCountyRising would like to extend a special thanks to the communities in Napa, Sonoma and beyond for their generous support; to Thomas Bensel and the staff and students at the Culinary Institute of America; to Paul Wagner and the team at Balzac Communications; to Fritz Hatton; and to Linda Reiff of the Napa Valley Vintners Association for her guidance from the start.

For information, visit http://lakecountyrising.org/charity-auction

#LakeCountyRising Gears Up for Charity Wine Auction

Valley Fire Relief Charity Wine Auction
Sunday, March 20, 2016
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Culinary Institute of America – Greystone
St. Helena, California

Lake County, Calif. – In an effort to help rebuild Lake County after the devastating Valley Fire, the wine industry community has banded together in support of #LakeCountyRising. A charity wine auction will be held on March 20, 2016, in St. Helena at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone to support the long-term rebuilding efforts in southern Lake County. The event is presented by #Lake County Rising, a collaborative fundraising effort of the Lake Country Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association and Lake County Wine Alliance.

The Valley Fire tore through northern California last September, scorching more than 115 square miles, destroying more than 1,300 homes and taking the lives of four Lake County residents, making it the third most destructive wildfire in California’s history. The fire damaged numerous businesses, decimated vast expanses of forest land, and left thousands of residents suddenly homeless.

Lake County grape growers and winery owners, along with North Coast industry partners, quickly mobilized to launch the #LakeCountyRising Valley Fire Relief Fund to help members of the Lake County community cope, adjust and rebuild.

Since launching this campaign, the fund has received donations from across the state and beyond, raising more than $800,000 to date. While these contributions already have made a profound impact in the lives of Lake County residents, the need is still great.

Community members and wine industry guests can make a difference as they raise their paddles to bid during a live auction with the nation’s leading wine auctioneer, Fritz Hatton. Napa Valley Vintners, Lake County Winery Association and other wine region associations around the state are putting together memorable auction lots in support of this important event. In addition to live auction items, attendees will be able to bid on silent auction wine lots and experiences from wine regions across California. 

Already lined up is a live auction personal barrel lot valued at $58,000. Beckstoffer Vineyards will provide a half ton of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the 2016 harvest of the Georges III Heritage Vineyard in Rutherford to the expert winemaking team at Sinegal Estate who will custom crush, craft, barrel, age, bottle, and label the finished wine specifically for the successful bidder.

Another live auction lot includes four magnums of wine from several of Beckstoffer Vineyards’ Heritage Vineyards and the opportunity for two couples to join Andy and Betty Beckstoffer at PRESS Napa Valley in St. Helena for a curated dinner complemented by several To Kalon wines. Each couple also will receive a signed copy of sommelier Kelli White’s new book, “Napa Valley Then & Now.”

Attendees will enjoy light hors d’oeuvres prepared by students at the Culinary Institute of America and have an opportunity to taste Lake County wines in a walk-around tasting. Seating is limited and advance registration is required. Tickets are $150 and may be purchased online at www.lakecountyrising.org/charity-auction.

Those who would like to bid but aren’t able to attend can check the www.lakecountyrising.org/charity-auction web site after March 1 for lot descriptions and advance bidding details.

Those who aren’t able to attend but want to help can click the “Get Tickets” button, and then choose “Donation” instead of the “Live Auction” ticket to make a donation in any amount. Donations are tax-deductible.

#LakeCountyRising presents
Valley Fire Relief
Charity Wine Auction

Sunday, March 20, 2016
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Vintner’s Hall of Fame at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
2555 Main Street, St. Helena, California 94574

About #LakeCountyRising and the Valley Fire Relief Charity Wine Auction

The Valley Fire Relief Charity Wine Auction is presented by #LakeCountyRising, a collaborative fundraising effort of the Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association and Lake County Wine Alliance to support long-term rebuilding in response to the devastating Valley Fire.

#LakeCountyRising would like to extend a special thanks to the communities in Napa, Sonoma and beyond for their generous support; to Thomas Bensel and the staff and students at the Culinary Institute of America; to Paul Wagner and the team at Balzac Communications; to Fritz Hatton; and to Linda Reiff of the Napa Valley Vintners Association for her guidance from the start.
For information, visit http://lakecountyrising.org/charity-auction

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#LakeCountyRising Issues First Distribution Checks

Distribution of Donor Funds Will Support Youth in the Impacted Communities

Kelseyville, Calif. October 22, 2015 – Organizers of the #LakeCountyRising fundraising effort report they have begun distributing funds from its Fire Relief Fund with the first round of giving designed to support the needs of youth in the impacted communities. The organization has been working directly with community leaders to help identify some of the most pressing community needs and funding gaps. As a result, an initial round of checks are being distributed to the following beneficiaries:

$40,000 to the Middletown Unified School District to support the following programs: Sixth Grade Science Camp for students attending elementary schools in Cobb, Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake; the K-12 music program; gift cards for students impacted by the fire.

$10,000 to the Lake County Fair Foundation to support Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H youth programs to assist with the replacement of jackets, uniforms, equipment, tack and animal needs.

$10,000 to the Lake Family Resource Center to support immediate housing and other needs of client families who lost homes in the fire.

Based on an initial assessment of community needs, the steering committee agreed to distribute $60,000 of the funds raised to date to help restore some sense of normalcy for children who have suffered as a result of the fire. Many youth lost equipment, instruments, supplies, uniforms, even animals used in agricultural programs, all of which are vital to their extracurricular activities. Also at risk are other youth programs, like science camp and music programs, which require monetary support through fundraising drives in their communities – a difficult task given the devastation of the Valley Fire.

Donors Contribute More Than $500,000

In the first few days after the Valley Fire swept through the southern part of Lake County and decimated communities like Cobb, Middletown and Anderson Springs, #LakeCountyRising was established to provide a way for individuals and businesses to respond. “The outpouring of support has been remarkable,” said Debra Sommerfield, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. To date, more than $500,000 has been donated or pledged to the Lake County Rising Fire Relief Fund.

The fundraising effort was kicked off with a $50,000 donation from Andy Beckstoffer of Beckstoffer Vineyards. “We hope this will motivate other people to give,” Beckstoffer said at the time. Since then, numerous businesses, associations and individuals have generously offered their support to survivors of the Valley Fire with contributions to #LakeCountyRising including:

U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson and supporters: $52,500. “Tragedies have a way of showing what a community is made of, and the Valley Fire is no different. This is one of the worst fires in California’s history, but it’s shown the absolute best of Lake County. We are a community of strength, resolve, gratitude and generosity, and that is how I know Lake County will rise again,” said U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson.

Trinchero Family Estates: $100,000. “We were saddened to see the devastation caused by the recent Valley Fire,” said Roger Trinchero, Chairman and CEO of Trinchero Family Estates. “We know these funds will be put to good use in helping residents in Lake and Napa counties rebuild their homes and their lives.”

Savings Bank of Mendocino County: $20,000. “We are saddened by the tremendous loss our neighbors have suffered as a result of the Valley Fire,” said David Weiss, Savings Bank Director. “Our employees, executives and stockholders live and work in these communities, and we are committed to helping our neighbors and local businesses who were affected by the Valley Fire through recovery and rebuilding.”

Calpine Corporation: $15,000. Calpine’s geothermal operations at The Geysers is one of Lake County’s largest employers and many of its employees lost homes in the Valley Fire. “Calpine has supported #LakeCountyRising from the beginning,” said Danielle Matthews Seperas, Manager, Government & Community Affairs at Calpine. “We feel this was the one local organization that could immediately help those impacted by the fire. All of our events and outreach are focused on supporting this cause so we can help our community rebuild as quickly as possible.”

The Hess Collection: $25,000. “We experienced devastation firsthand – we are still rebuilding after the Napa earthquake,” said Tim Persson, CEO, Hess Family Wine Estates. “Lake County is part of the Hess Community and we feel strongly about helping the recovery from this devastation.”

Rabobank N.A.: $25,000. “Working with clients in Lake County, we have witnessed the human toll of this fire firsthand,” said Charles Day, area manager for Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Division on the North Coast. “The incredible scale of the damage and hardship it has caused prompted Rabobank to do what we could to aid the relief effort.”

Homestake Mining Company: $5,000. “Homestake has been a part of this community for over 30 years, and we are saddened by the extensive losses suffered by so many of our neighbors in Lake County. Our hope is that this contribution will provide some needed relief to those in need and encourage other businesses and individuals to help where they can,” said Peggie King, McLaughlin Mine Closure Manager, Homestake Mining Company (Barrick Gold Corporation).

Cache Creek Vineyards and others: $7,250. “At Cache Creek Vineyards, we wanted to do something to help those affected by the fires so we began making plans for a benefit concert. With the generous support of many individuals and businesses who donated to our silent auction and provided goods and services to sponsor our concert, we were able to raise $14,500,” said Don Van Pelt, Owner, Cache Creek Vineyards. The proceeds were split between two funds, including the Lake County Rising Fire Relief Fund.

The Lake County Wine Alliance, a 501(c)(3) organization, is managing the collection and distribution of funds for #LakeCountyRising. According to Bill Groody, Marketing Director of the Wine Alliance, more than 30 wineries, vineyard owners and other businesses have donated to #LakeCountyRising, and more than 200 individuals have supported the fundraising effort. “It’s extremely gratifying to see that what started out as a wine industry response to the Valley Fire has blossomed into a broad-based response, with donations coming in from places as far away as Alaska, Florida, New York and Washington, D.C.,” he said.

Steering Committee Created, Will Guide Future Fundraising and Distribution

As donations to the Lake County Rising Fire Relief Fund began to arrive, organizers recognized the need to establish a steering committee that could guide the distribution of funds to assist individuals, businesses and organizations where the need is acutely felt, as well as generate awareness and solicit funds beyond Lake County borders. Several prominent leaders in the local community as well as leaders from neighboring counties stepped up to serve in this capacity to help support a broad fundraising effort, particularly in Napa, Sonoma and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Members of the steering committee include Kaj Ahlmann, President, Lake County Wine Alliance, and Owner, Six Sigma Ranch; Andy Beckstoffer, Chair and Owner, Beckstoffer Vineyards; Rob Brown, District 5 Supervisor, County of Lake; Elizabeth Gore, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Dell; Peter Molnar, Partner and General Manager, Obsidian Ridge Vineyard; Brad Onorato, District Representative for U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson; Tiffany Ortega, Assistant Administrator, Sutter Lakeside Hospital.

From the start, U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson and Lake County Supervisor Rob Brown have been integral in providing insight, support and on-the-ground experience for the #LakeCountyRising organizers and steering committee.

From a practical perspective, the steering committee provides leadership and guidance while the primary organizers – the Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association and Lake County Wine Alliance – provide “on the ground” support. This support includes collaboration with community leaders and attendance at community meetings, communicating with local agencies and maintaining the fundraising infrastructure to enable ongoing donations and distributions.

Future giving will be based on an in-depth community needs assessment currently underway and identification of needs not covered by other funding sources. Areas of focus will include community-building activities to support long-term recovery efforts for the communities of Middletown and Cobb.

Savings Bank of Mendocino County donated $20,000 to #LakeCountyRising. In this photo: David Weiss, SBMC Board Member; Bill Groody, Lake County Wine Alliance Board Member; Pete Dodson, SBMC Loan Officer; and Susie Robinson, SBMC Lakeport Branch Manager.

Savings Bank of Mendocino County donated $20,000 to #LakeCountyRising. In this photo: David Weiss, SBMC Board Member; Bill Groody, Lake County Wine Alliance Board Member; Pete Dodson, SBMC Loan Officer; and Susie Robinson, SBMC Lakeport Branch Manager.

Homestake Mining Company (Barrick Gold Corporation) donated $5,000 to #LakeCountyRising. In this photo: Debra Sommerfield, Lake County Winegrape Commission; Peggie King, Homestake Mining Company; Sharron Zoller, Lake County Wine Alliance; and Terry Dereniuk, Lake County Winery Association.

Homestake Mining Company (Barrick Gold Corporation) donated $5,000 to #LakeCountyRising. In this photo: Debra Sommerfield, Lake County Winegrape Commission; Peggie King, Homestake Mining Company; Sharron Zoller, Lake County Wine Alliance; and Terry Dereniuk, Lake County Winery Association.

#LakeCountyRising Fundraising Effort Reaches $275,000 in 12 Days

Support for Survivors of Valley Fire Evident from Across North Coast Region

Kelseyville, Calif. October 2, 2015. – Organizers of the #LakeCountyRising fundraising effort report that approximately $275,000 has been raised in the first 12 days since launching the campaign, which was created to support rebuilding efforts in the communities devastated by the Valley Fire.

Organizers of several well-attended events – one in Washington D.C. and one in Napa this week, and one in Sonoma County the prior week – have contributed to the cause.

“While we are still tallying donations from this week’s benefits, it is apparent that momentum is building for this local campaign,” said Bill Groody, board member of the Lake County Wine Alliance, one of three organizations who initiated the #LakeCountyRising fundraising effort.

One of the recent events, a Valley Fire Relief Benefit organized by Michelle and Robin Baggett, owners of Alpha Omega Winery in Rutherford, in partnership with Darioush Winery, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery and the Napa Valley Film Festival, raised $100,000 with half of that going to #LakeCountyRising and half to UpValley Family Center.

“Tragedy knows no borders,” said Alpha Omega Vintner Michelle Baggett. “Many workers in Napa County – from our hospitals and schools to local businesses – live in the next county.”

“We’re so grateful to see such broad community and industry support,” said Debra Sommerfield, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission.

Andy Beckstoffer of Beckstoffer Vineyards helped jumpstart the effort with a $50,000 donation, and others in the wine industry also have jumped in, from individuals to wineries to grapegrower organizations.

Barry Hoffner, president of the Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak Winegrowers Association, a small newly established appellation in Sonoma County, was one of the first to call in with a pledge of support. “We wanted to do what we can to help,” Hoffner said.

“People from all across the region are really stepping up,” Sommerfield said. “Many of them know someone – a friend, family member or co-worker – who lost everything. They really feel the impact and know that it will take some hard work for these communities to recover. They’re eager to contribute.”

Also among the first contributors was Rutherford-based Honig Vineyard & Winery. “Our family and staff are heartbroken to see so many of our neighbors suffering,” said Michael Honig, whose winery donated $10,000. “We felt it was important to donate so the community could start to rebuild. We hope that other individuals and businesses will follow our lead and contribute as much as possible to help those who have lost so much.”

The board of the Oakville Winegrowers Association also stepped up, voting unanimously to make a donation to the fire relief efforts, according to Tom Garrett, president of the association.

“Our board was compelled to contribute to the rebuilding process for Lake County and felt a local organization, such as Lake County Rising, would be best-suited for understanding the needs of the community and for keeping the majority of contributed funds in the county,” Garrett said.

Peter Molnar, general manager and partner of Obsidian Ridge Vineyards and Tricycle Wine Partners, which also donated to the cause, said, “We have been a proud member of the winegrowing community in Lake County for 17 years, and we are moved by the devastating losses suffered by our neighbors. We have also been inspired by the people of Lake County who have come together in these last three weeks to support those most affected.”

Beckstoffer Vineyards Contributes $50k to #LakeCountyRising

Kelseyville, Calif., September 21, 2015 – On Monday, September 21, 2015, Beckstoffer Vineyards announced its donation of $50,000 to the #LakeCountyRising fundraising campaign.

“We’re part of the community,” said Andy Beckstoffer, founder, chairman, and owner of Beckstoffer Vineyards. “We have major vineyard holdings in Lake County, and many of our people live in Lake County.”

“On behalf of the Lake County community, we are grateful for the generosity we’re seeing from across the region,” said Debra Sommerfield, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission, one of three organizations who have partnered to establish the #LakeCountyRising fundraising effort.

#LakeCountyRising is a fundraising effort to support community rebuilding in the areas ravaged by the Valley Fire with a focus on livelihood, housing, and community needs. The effort was initiated by three Lake County organizations: Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association, and Lake County Wine Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that will manage the collection and distribution of tax-deductible donations.

“This generous donation by the Beckstoffer family is a wonderful example of how the wine industry is coming together with significant support,” Sommerfield said.

Beckstoffer Vineyards farms more than 1,300 acres in the Red Hills of Lake County, in addition to its 1,000 acres in the Napa Valley and 1,300 acres in Mendocino County.

“We hope this will motivate other people to give,” Beckstoffer said.

Lake County Winery and Vineyard Associations Announce Relief Effort

Kelseyville, Calif., September 18, 2015 – In response to the devastating Valley Fire, three leading organizations that represent wineries and vineyard owners in Lake County have announced plans to lead a fundraising drive – #LakeCountyRising – to help those affected by the Valley Fire. The organizations include Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association, and Lake County Wine Alliance. The Wine Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, will manage the collection and distribution of tax-deductible donations to support rebuilding efforts focused on livelihood, housing and community needs. For information on how to support this important cause, go to Facebook.com/LakeCountyRising or follow the Twitter hashtag, #LakeCountyRising.

“When tragedies strike, our community comes together,” said Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-5). “This is one of the worst fires in California’s history, but it’s shown the absolute best of Lake County. We face a long and slow road to recovery, but we will get there together with the generous support of groups like the Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association, and Lake County Wine Alliance. Lake County will rise and we will reinvigorate this great community that we all love so much.”

“Lake County is a tight-knit rural agricultural community that has been hit hard by recent wildfires,” said Debra Sommerfield, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. “As members of this community, Lake County vintners and winegrowers are deeply saddened by the terrible fires and losses the fires have created for our friends, our neighbors and our employees.”

“We know it will take a massive amount of work, energy and money to restore and renew the lives of those who have been affected,” said Terry Dereniuk, executive director of the Lake County Winery Association. “We are fully committed to supporting efforts to stabilize our community as we move forward to revitalize Lake County.”

“As a partner in this effort, the Lake County Wine Alliance brings a 15-year track record of raising a substantial amount of money and getting it to organizations that will do the most good,” said Bill Groody, Wine Alliance marketing director.

#‎LakeCountyRising aims to raise significant funds over the coming weeks and months to help members of the Lake County community cope, adjust, and rebuild after the Valley Fire. #LakeCountyRising will work with local organizations and government agencies to identify the most pressing community needs.