WINDSOR (KRON) — As he drives around his family-owned property, taking note of the damage done to Notre Vue Estate Winery and Vineyards in Windsor — Jared Stein says he feels fortunate and not burdened.
Of the 710 acres of land…
“Probably about 60-percent of our property saw some form of fire.”
Grass and brush burned, an outhouse near the vineyard manager’s home went down in flames.
Some furniture was destroyed, but nothing that can’t be replaced.
Most importantly, the winery survived.
“Extremely fortunate. I mean, this is the heart of the operation,” Stein said. “If this were to have gotten smoke damage, any kind of fire in here, it would have shut us down.”
Stein and his business partner David Mccluskey say almost all of their grapes were harvested before the fire.
Meaning, the wine is fine.
What ever wasn’t picked was left on vines or the ground for the animals to eat.
Almost all structures and decks are still standing, because stein says firefighters were determined to save them.
“All the way around this deck from this corner, there’s charing under the actual wood,” Stein said. “And that basically means that the fire fighters were here while it was burning, were able to get it out before it damaged anything that we had up here.”
The day Stein and everyone on the property were evacuated was the same day fire crews showed up.
They ended up making camp here, turning the winery office into a command center, doubling as a dorm.
“Five crews of guys up here, and they literally slept here, slept on the desks, and any nook and cranny they could find,” Stein said.
The crews were grateful for the hospitality, leaving thank you notes behind before they left.
Stein’s family made the entire property available to them, letting them fill their engines up with water from the ponds.
Team leaders were also able to monitor fire activity from the summit.
“They thanked us for being so accessible, being able to get around our property and fight the fires in such great quantities as they did,” Stein said.
And, the feeling, Stein says, is mutual.
Fire crews have since cleared out.
Power was restored to the property Saturday.
And, now the focus turns to maintenance.
“What we’re really looking for is two good rains,” Stein said. “The first one to just kind of get a little bit of the stuff moved around and then the second one to kind of clean everything up.”
The plan is to re-seed and re-group.
Hopefully re-opening to the public in a month or so, and get back to what Notre Vue is known for — Stellar wine, paired with tranquility.
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