The French novelist Marcel Proust observed in his masterpiece In Search of Lost Time that the point of travel is not to discover new landscapes but to renew the senses—and in so doing, acquire fresh insights. Most of us have had the good fortune to travel extensively, and each of our journeys has blessed us with unique ways of seeing differently.
Those who have paused in their wanderings to take a deep breath and immerse themselves in the singular beauty of California’s premier wine regions, Napa Valley and Sonoma County, have done more than renew their senses of sight, touch, and taste; they have refreshed their spirits. The remarkable pull of these two places derives in part from the splendor of their vistas, their fine weather, and the extraordinary elegance of their wines.
But what keeps us returning to these landmark locations is the ideal they have embodied for more than a century and a half: the creative harmony and synergy that can exist between human beings and nature. And each time we visit towns such as Napa, Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville, Santa Rosa, and Healdsburg, we are reminded of another rarity in our modern world: true hospitality.
We ask those who enjoy and appreciate the great gifts of these two historic regions to join us in supporting their communities, which have been recently overcome by record wildfires. Although many groups are working with firefighters and emergency services to protect the people and the environment in both counties, two organizations—the Napa Community Disaster Relief Fund and the Sonoma County Resilience Fund (found in the first checkbox under Donation Information)—are providing direct support to residents and responders.
As Terrence Mulligan—president of the Napa Valley Community Foundation, which oversees the first of these funds—points out, the impact of donations to these efforts is immediate. “We will distribute $300,000 to $500,000 in a first round of immediate support grants by Friday,” he says. “These will go to a select group of trusted nonprofit service providers who are helping with temporary shelter, meals, medical care, child care, and care of animals that have been evacuated with owners. The next (and larger) phase of distributions is likely to focus on interim housing, mental-health services, and helping folks navigate the maze of insurance company and FEMA assistance, among other things.”
Thanks to all the members of the Robb Report community for their generosity, compassion, and concern.