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.
May 7, 2017 Resplendent with pink and white roses, Chinese lantern bushes of dangling fiery blossoms and heaps of cascading mandarin orange flowers, the grounds of Chateau St. Jean are dazzling in springtime, with meandering pathways, picnic tables and benches to enjoy a glass of wine. Its European style, known as the “chateau” by neighbors, who inspired the name, was built from 1916-1920 as a summer home for a family from Michigan. They were popular hosts, and received a magnolia tree gifted by Luther Burbank that stands to one side of the patio, nearly 100 years old. Although not conceived of as a winery, there were white wine grapes planted on the original estate.