Winery Raised $100,000 for Napa Valley Wildfire Relief; Prepares to Help Redding
RUTHERFORD, Calif. (July 30, 2018) –Alpha Omega, a family-owned winery on the Rutherford Bench of Napa Valley, hosted two lively Big Bottle Benefit BBQs to honor Napa Valley fire victims, first responders and the Napa Valley Community Foundation at its estate on July 27 and July 28, 2018. In January, the Alpha Omega Foundation donated $100,000 to wildfire relief, which it raised by selling $500-per-person seats to the two dinner parties after the North Bay Fires erupted in October and Alpha Omega Wine Club members and other supporters asked how they could help. The NVCF’s Disaster Relief Fund received $95,000 of the funds and $5,000 went to the Rutherford Volunteer Fire Department.
“God provided us a vessel to be able to contribute $100,000 to our community during a time of need,” said Vintner Michelle Baggett, Executive Director of the Alpha Omega Foundation. “What a beautiful celebration we had at Alpha Omega for two nights. Our hearts are as full as the two beautiful full moons we experienced during two heartfelt evenings honoring the charitable fans of Napa Valley and Alpha Omega, our first responders, those who bravely endured the loss of their homes and the organizations put in place to support those affected by those tragic wildfires.”
Her Vintner husband Robin Baggett added, “These two nights were a very special time for all. There was great music, food and wine and warm feelings of sincerity. This was a wonderful way to have fun and give a genuine thank you to our first responders and Alpha Omega supporters.”
Eric O’Brien Chris Carmichael Alex Gonzalez and Robin Baggett of the Baggett Ranch BBQ Team. Photo Credit Bob McClenahan
Some people purchased seats for Alpha Omega to gift to others, which allowed the winery to invite representatives from the NVCF, active and retired first responders and people whose houses were destroyed in the fires. Madonna Day who lost her home of 48 years in the Tubbs fire and as a result became a client of UpValley Family Centers, one of the nonprofits the NVCF assists, attended with her daughter, Marie-Louise Clark.
“The event was a much-needed break for my mom from the reality and tragedy of what happened,” Clark said. “She was able to get out and enjoy herself, dance and smile in beautiful Napa Valley, which she loves so much. The generosity of the winery family and staff as well as the attendees who came from far and wide to donate money was inspiring. The people at my table were listening to every word from my mother. I was inspired by Michelle’s speech, which kept mentioning her commitment to family at the winery.”
An Alpha Omega employee and his photographer wife whose Atlas Peak home burned completely attended the first evening, and she was among the artists asked to bring pieces of her work to display at both benefits. Artists Kathy Tranmer and Edmund Grant, whose works previously hung on the walls in Alpha Omega’s private tasting rooms as part of the winery’s artist-in-residence program, also lost their Atlas Peak homes and art. Both showcased their new paintings at Alpha Omega’s events Friday and Saturday and on Sunday when the winery hosted the Festival Napa Valley season finale luncheon.
“It’s wonderful that the Baggetts honored the first responders and that they have such generous people in their Wine Club,” said Tranmer, whose 200 original acrylic paintings went up in flames when her and husband Joel Tranmer’s home burned. She had just a few paintings at another winery and in a rental home. “It was a healing process to show again at Alpha Omega. The comments were positive, and the people were kind. Most of these (pieces) I’ve painted since the fire. It’s been therapeutic and really fun.”
She said selling paintings over the weekend at Alpha Omega was “reaffirming”. Grant says he lost $2.8 million worth of art in the fire, which also destroyed his artist wife’s works. He retrieved 15 of his pieces which were on exhibit and started painting again.
“I really appreciate that Michelle invited me here to show some of the art that I still have,” said Grant, who also brought some of his wife’s pieces. “Everybody has responded very, very positively to my art. It’s been a nice experience. I had sales for myself and my wife. That’s phenomenal!”
At the Western-themed benefits, guests enjoyed a family-style BBQ and a surprise performance by a quartet donated by Festival Napa Valley’s Blackburn School of Music, sipped cocktails dispensed from a 1929 fire truck parked in the vineyards and danced barefoot on the grass to live country music by Jeff Rickets and the Ole Dirt Road Band. The menu consisted of smoked whole hog, BBQ quail and smoked prime beef short ribs prepared by the Baggett Ranch BBQ Team and Chef Elaine Bell’s seared salmon, whole roasted parsnips, black eye pea and cucumber salad, roasted red, yellow and Chioggia beet salad, jalapeño cornbread with honey butter and dessert buffet with strawberry shortcake, mini pear tarts, cabernet-injected truffles and macaroon selections. Alpha Omega Chardonnay Reserve Napa Valley 2013, Alpha Omega Proprietary Red Napa Valley 2014, Alpha Omega Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley and Alpha Omega ERA Napa Valley 2014 were poured from big bottles.
Alpha Omega underwrote 100% of the expenses for both benefits. The winery scheduled the events to take place the two evenings prior to hosting the Festival Napa Valley season finale luncheon on July 29 in order to reduce its costs by using the same rentals for three days. Robin Baggett is a Festival Napa Valley board member.
- Rion Designs and Encore Events Rentals charged Alpha Omega for a one-day rental for the canopy and farm tables and chairs, respectively.
- Festival Napa Valley donated the performance by a hand-selected quartet from its Blackburn Music Academy for both nights.
- Festival Napa Valley arranged for the stage and canopy used for its singer Morgan James to be set up a few days in advance of its season finale.
- Nimbus Arts, a community-based nonprofit in St. Helena, loaned easels to the artists for all three days.
- Napa Valley Cocktail Company, which provided the vintage fire engine mobile bar, and Charlie Crebs of Napa Palisades Saloon who created the specialized cocktails for Alpha Omega’s guests, discounted their rates for the three days. The cocktail company’s owners have three generations of firefighters in their family.
“We’re grateful to the Napa Valley businesses that supported us by donating or discounting their goods and services, which helped us put on these two amazing events to the high level we envisioned last fall,” Michelle Baggett said. “We also can’t thank our staff enough for their dedication and stamina for three consecutive days of major events.”
In the middle of the events came a request from Operation BBQ Relief for the Baggett Ranch BBQ Team to help those in Redding, where the Carr fire is burning wildly. Last October, Alpha Omega helped raise thousands of dollars for OBR, a 501(c)(3) disaster relief organization, and provided 10 BBQ units and its BBQ squad to prepare 33,000 meals for emergency personnel and evacuees during the wildfires from OBR’s Napa outpost. Today, the Baggett Ranch BBQ Team will take two rotisserie smokers, which each can cook approximately one ton of protein at a time, to Redding to make 5,000 meals daily. Robin Baggett is expected to join his men on August 1.
“What’s going on in Redding is really terrible,” Robin Baggett said. “We’re glad to help by donating our manpower and smokers once again. It’s a little uncanny that our guys are headed to Redding right after they cooked for our celebrations honoring first responders, fire victims and the Napa Valley Community Foundation and then Festival Napa Valley.”
About Alpha Omega
Founded in 2006 by Robin and Michelle Baggett, Alpha Omega began as a direct-to-consumer pioneer and now sells 95% of its wine through this channel. Located on Highway 29 in the legendary Rutherford Bench of Napa Valley, Alpha Omega produces world-class, Bordeaux-style, handcrafted wines made with prized grapes from its own vineyards and historic vineyards by Swiss-born winemaker Jean Hoefliger and consulting winemaker Michel Rolland. With its landmark fountains, tranquil pond and stunning views of the Mayacamas Mountains and vineyards, the winery exudes a sense of place and offers hospitality reflective of the farming community. Alpha Omega’s land and winery are Napa Green certified. To learn more, please visit www.aowinery.com.