For 26 years, Charles Johnston has grown cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc vines organically off Highway 128 in Calistoga.
The Tubbs Fire tore into northern Napa Valley late Sunday night. By Monday morning, Johnston returned to his Helena View Johnston winery to find his legacy in ashes.
“Everything was annihilated and the scorched earth is unbelievable,” he said Wednesday.
It is a story of heartache and loss shared by many in the Napa and Sonoma areas, as some of the dozen still raging fires shifted enough to let winery owners and winemakers return to confirm their worst fears.
The aftermath of the Tubbs Fire at Helena View Johnston winery and vineyards in Calistoga includes 30,000 wine bottles shattered and ruined. (Courtesy of Charles Johnston)
Johnston and his family were ordered to evacuate late Sunday night as the Tubbs Fire moved as fast was as 100 feet every five minutes. “You could see propane tanks explode,” he said. “You could hear them and then there would be a burst of flames.”
He didn’t stay away for long. Johnston followed two horse trailers permitted into the burn area to check things out on Monday.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle