October 24, 2017 This was my first venture into Gold Country, and despite the challenging traffic through Sacramento, I discovered the area to be a woodland wonderland. After researching boutique wineries in the area, I was attracted to the name "Secret Ravine" and drove out on a whim. The roads led through delicate meadows and mottled groves with farmhouses and an unassuming driveway.
October 14, 2017 The crush was interrupted on Monday morning by a spreading cloud of smoke and wildfires springing up around Sonoma County, sweeping through with such speed that many families had to escape without any belongings. In the resulting cacophony of reports, rumors spread that the Glen Ellen Village Market was in flames and Chateau St. Jean had burned to the ground. Panic set in with fire visible in the hills, causing clogged roads and false stories due to the lack of access for compiling accurate reports. Nearby hotels filled with evacuees, while others fled to relatives, friends, co-workers, or shelters; the adventurous drove to campgrounds that were out of immediate danger to spend the night.
October 9, 2017 When fires began threatening areas of Sonoma County, quickly clouding them in smoke and ash, I became concerned for my favorite local wineries in Glen Ellen and Kenwood. With an evacuation ordered, conflicting reports, and wild rumors spreading, I curated a list of wineries and their statuses, based on the information that I could gather.