As the Glass fire raged in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, the people at Charles Krug Winery on the valley floor realized that its location was potentially a strategic position for supporting first-responders. The winery contacted PG&E on Oct. 1, and within hours, had agreed to let them use fallow land north of the Redwood Estate.

The winery worked with PG&E to establish a basecamp on the winery grounds to execute its on-the-scene operations helping fire containment. From its new makeshift St. Helena headquarters, previously home to the CIA gardens, PG&E worked with firefighters to assess damage to power lines, turn off gas or repair lines as needed and help move damaged lines or equipment. They also used the space to conduct investigative work into what started the fires and what future repairs need to be completed.

Using the Krug field as one of their command headquarters, over the next few days, P,G & E filled it with trucks, equipment, communication centers and workers. Where the winery property ends at Deer Park Road, PG&E cut out brush and put in a temporary bridge for access onto Deer Park Road for efficient traffic flow to the fire zones.

As Napa Valley’s oldest winery founded in 1861, Charles Krug has endured many historical events, including two world wars and Prohibition. The late Peter Mondavi, Sr., served in England during World War II.

A Pine Ridge special offer

Throughout October, Pine Ridge Winery is donating $50 from the sale of the 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon six-bottle collection to Napa Valley Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) supporting those recovering from wildfires. The winery is offering this collection for $350, a 10% savings off the retail price. Visit pineridgevineyards.com for more information.

Rich and Leslie Frank’s gift to the University of Illinois

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Rich and Leslie Frank

Rich and Leslie Frank of Frank Family Vineyards.

Rich and Leslie Frank, owners of Frank Family Vineyards, have donated $7.5 million to the College of Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Rich Frank is an alumnus. The gift, the largest in the college’s history, will establish the Richard and Leslie Frank Center for Leadership and Innovation in Media.

“Now more than ever there is a critical need for good, solid, objective journalism in this country,” a statement from the Franks reads. “We are encouraged our contribution will help create the highest level of learning for the next generation of journalists.”

Rich Frank is former president of Disney Studios, and Leslie (Miller) Frank is an Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist.

A portion of the Frank’s gift will be used to create a state-of-the-art broadcast facility as well as two classrooms to accommodate the use of new technologies and to offer space for media editing and production.

“The opportunity this gift provides to our students who are pursuing careers in media is phenomenal,” said Illinois Chancellor Robert J. Jones who described the new center as “the perfect ecosystem for budding journalists and media professionals at Illinois.”

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Paul Hobbs and Antonio Lopez in Galicia, Spain

Paul Hobbs and Antonio Lopez in Galicia, Spain

Paul Hobbs launches winery from Galicia, Spain

Global winemaker Paul Hobbs’ newest international venture, Alvaredos-Hobbs, is in partnership with Antonio Lopez, a sixth-generation vintner from Galicia, Spain. Hobbs and his local team are focusing on the limited production of indigenous varieties planted in the ancient winegrowing region of Ribeira Sacra in Galicia.

The estate vineyard parcels, some of which have belonged to Lopez’s family for generations, sit alongside to Rio Sil where the steep, rugged terrain demands careful tending of each vine.

Hobbs said, “From my first visit to the region in 2015, I was captivated by the work Antonio and his family had done, from piecing together small parcels of vineyards to constructing a winery from the old stone homes. When I stepped into the vineyards and saw the soil, I felt I was seeing a diamond in the rough. I am thrilled to participate in what’s happening in the region and to bring these wines to market.”

The town of Alvaredos, the winery’s namesake and residence, is home to 15 families and is considered one of the 3,000 disappearing towns of Galicia. A portion of the proceeds of wine sales will support the revitalization of Alvaredos and other forgotten towns of the area.

Imported to the U.S. by Paul Hobbs Selections, Alvaredos-Hobbs will debut in the U.S. with the 2018 Godello D.O. Ribeira Sacra (SRP $50). A release of 2019 Mencia will follow the spring of next year. Visit www.alvaredoshobbs.com for more information.

A mentorship program from Bâtonnage

Bâtonnage, a forum aimed at opening up the conversation about women in wine, has launched a new mentorship program.

The program seeks to create a pragmatic, inclusive course for those who have been overlooked or spoken over with a goal of equal opportunities, representation and leadership positions in all sectors and tiers of the wine industry.

Beginning in 2018, Bâtonnage Forum operated as an annual conference. The mentorship program will offer three progressive levels of mentorship in cellar/production, viticulture, sales and marketing, and retail and hospitality.

Applications for level 1 are open until Nov. 1 for the 2021 program. For more information, visit batonnageforum.com/mentorship-program.

Wineries support the Vine Trail

The Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition has formed a partnership with 10 Napa Valley wineries to produce 10-bottle collections of Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines to support of the Vine Trail project.

Two Vine Trail Vintner Collections will be released annually, beginning with the 2018 vintage wines from Alpha Omega and Vineyard 29 on Oct. 13, and continuing with releases from Spottswoode Estate and Whitehall Lane in 2021; Rocca and Tamber Bey in 2022; Gemstone and Newton in 2023 and Crocker & Starr and Silver Oak in 2024.

Only 900 10-bottle sets will be created, and a display rack is included.

The price is $500 a bottle, with all proceeds going to complete the Trail. $400 from each bottle is available as a charitable donation. The Roger J. Trinchero Family Foundation and several other Vine Trail supporters will contribute $1,000 for each of the first 150 purchasers of the Vintner Collection.

The Vine Trail Vintner Collection will be offered to the wine club and mailing list members of the participating wineries first and will be available to the public on Oct. 20 by visiting www.vinetrail.org/wine.

Founded in 2008, the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a 47-mile walking and bike trail from the Vallejo Ferry to Calistoga. Since its founding, the grassroots organization has raised $7.5 million in donations, matched with $17 million in grants to complete the first 19 miles of the Vine Trail. Fifteen more miles are scheduled for construction in 2021.

Hall launches a fundraiser

Vintner Kathryn Hall is launching a fundraising campaign to aid in fire relief on Oct. 16, during Hall’s Happy Hour series on Facebook Live. She plans to introduce local firefighters who helped preserve and protect Napa Valley during the Glass Fire as she announces the fundraiser through the Redwood Credit Union. Find the happy hour on Hall’s Facebook Live channel from 4-4:30 p.m.

Hall plans to match the funds raised and has set aside $50,000 for employees nominate organizations they would like to receive funds. Hall’s hotel based in Napa, SENZA, offered free hotel accommodations including complimentary breakfast to anyone affected by the fires including staff and first responders.