Kosher winery partially reopens as wildfires continue burning in Northern California


The scene at Hagafen Cellars on Oct. 10, 2017, when land, vegetation and equipment were burned in the fires raging throughout Wine Country this week. (Courtesy of Hagafen Cellars)

(JTA) — Hagafen Cellars, the only kosher winery in the Napa Valley and Sonoma, partially opened despite sustaining heavy damage in the wildfires racing through the area.

The winery’s tasting room reopened on Monday morning, and “We’re waiting now for our first tourist,” owner and winemaker Ernie Weir told J. The Jewish News of Northern California.

Several buildings and virtually all of the winery’s agricultural equipment were destroyed in the fire. And while one of the winery’s 12 acres of vineyards was burned, the grapes already had been harvested. The inventory remained intact as well.

There are hundreds of wineries in the region and most were forced to close in the first days of the fires, which have been burning for more than a week. Some of the wineries burned to the ground, according to J.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

There have been at least 41 deaths reported from the northern California wildfires and more than 80 people remain missing. The fires have burned over 217,000 acres and destroyed more than 5,700 homes and other structures. Damage estimates have topped $3 billion.

As of Monday night some 60 percent of the fires were reported contained, with rain in the forecast for later in the week.

The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties reported that as of Monday evening the nine local synagogues in the path of the fires were unharmed, as well as the JCC of Sonoma County.

At least 21 local Jewish families have lost their homes in the fires, and are currently sheltering in one of the synagogues, with the others working to help provide the families with meals. IsraAid is also on the scene, providing supplies and grief counseling, according to the Federation. In addition, representatives from Sonoma County Chabad Jewish Center and Chabad Jewish Center of Petaluma have been visiting emergency centers and providing support, as well as meals via Oakland Kosher.