“Wine Country” Is Not On Fire — A Message To The Media
If I didn’t know better, I’d assume the entirety of Northern California “Wine Country” was on fire.
But I do know better. And so should the media.
I’m not the most obsessive stickler for accuracy. However, when I constantly hear the media inform the world that “Fires Burn California Wine Country” I cringe at its severe inaccuracy. It’s a bit like claiming that “snow comes to California” when in fact there is only snow on the mountain peaks. It’s not untrue. But it’s pretty damned imprecise.
“California Wine Country” is a fairly vast region. It includes Mendocino County, which is divided between inland and coastal regions. “California Wine Country” includes Sonoma County, where you have the Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Bennett Valley, and Sonoma Valley—none of which are on fire. It includes Napa Valley, which has been spared any fires. It includes Lake County and more.
The point, of course, is that it scares the shit out of anyone who has any reason to come to “California Wine Country” that in turn hurts wine country by causing a severe decrease in visitors to Wine Country and sales of wines—activities that give hundreds of thousands of folks a living.
Slightly more accurate accounts of what is happening in my former home by the media would be appreciated. “Fires in parts of Sonoma County” would work. “The fires in Northern Sonoma County” would be accurate. But claiming that “Wine Country is on fire” is a bit like taking a big red brush and placing an “X” over the entirety of everything north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s irresponsible and largely inaccurate.
On a personal note, it’s very difficult to sit up in our new perch here in the Willamette Valley and watch our friends and former home deal with the impact of this emergency and not be able to do much to help. I can’t tell you how many friends have called and emailed and texted and asked, “aren’t you glad you are gone”? We are not glad we are gone. We are happy where we are. There is a difference. That said, there is a sense of selfish relief that is hard to deny.