Months After the Northern California Fires, Napa and Sonoma Vineyards Are Ready for Business
If you followed the Napa and Sonoma fires, the images of towering flames and devastated neighborhoods may have stuck with you. These horrifying images are in the news again, with fires raging in Southern California.
But driving through Napa and Sonoma counties several weeks after the fires broke out, you'll see that fall rains have returned hills that were charred to the vibrant greens that are typical this time of year. For the most part, the vineyards and wineries are as beautiful as ever. If you are sipping Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley or spending the weekend taking in Healdsburg’s first-rate gourmet offerings, the only signs of the fire might be #SonomaStrong billboards and hand-painted signs thanking first responders.
A drive up the Sonoma Highway, however, will take you by the communities of Glen Ellen and Kenwood that were hit hard. In this slideshow, we revisit some of the hotels, restaurants and wineries Travel + Leisure has recommended to see what they look like after the fires.
Speaking with the people who work in these establishments, you hear different versions of the same message: No one wants to minimize the tragedy of the fires, but the fact is, most of the wineries that draw visitors to the region emerged unscathed. Vineyards acted as a natural fire break, and firefighters from all over California worked around the clock to protect as much as they could. And a key component to getting the region back on its feet is tourism, making now the perfect time to visit Napa and Sonoma.
Just north of the town of Healdsburg, Jordan Winery is in a part of Sonoma County that was not directly affected by the fires. Tours and tastings are available by appointment and come with food pairings from the winery chef. The winery itself is in a grand chateau, and the vineyards offer sweeping views of Alexander Valley.
Three Sticks at the Adobe
Chefs at Single Thread
Cliff Lede's Vice President & General Manager
The Hess Collection
High above the valley floor on Mt. Veeder, The Hess Collection offers tastings in their historic winery that also houses a private museum where you can take in the owner’s Modern art collection. The fires were nearby, but vineyards acted as a natural fire break, and the property was spared. They were forced to close for several weeks before reopening their doors to visitors.