The Adobe at Three Sticks Winery is currently hosting socially distanced tastings by appointment, but you can also tune in this September for the winery's virtual country music concert to benefit Covid relief funds for musicians impacted by the pandemic. (Courtesy of @threestickswines)

Grapes for Good: 3 Napa and Sonoma Wineries Paying it Forward in 2020

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In the sh*tstorm that is 2020, heroes come in many forms. In Napa and Sonoma, wineries and vineyards are stepping into the fray with initiatives designed to lift up the people and places left vulnerable by the pandemic.

From providing financial support to laid-off workers and industries devastated by COVID-19, to rebuilding the nation's green spaces, there's a little bit of good in every glass from these stand-up vintners and growers. Here are few to know and support now.


Three Sticks Winery is fundraising for musicians during Covid-19.

Throughout the pandemic, Sonoma's Three Sticks Winery has actively supported a variety of initiatives to provide food and other forms of relief. But owner Bill Price and winemaker Bob Cabral's most exciting philanthropic endeavor focuses on one vulnerable group in particular: musicians and music industry workers. With Three Sticks Together, a virtual benefit concert, the winery is fundraising for the cause. Their first show in April, which included several diverse musicians including crooner Billy Valentine and '80s rocker Sammy Hagar, raised more than $83,000 for the Plus1 Covid-19 Relief Fund and MusiCares.

Next month's Three Sticks Together concert, the winery's third, partners with Nashville's Arrington Vineyards and features Kix Brooks, of the famed Brooks & Dunn, as co-emcee and a yet-to-be-released country lineup. Register to attend the event on September 9th at 5:30pm and donate generously. This time around, proceeds will be donated to Sweet Relief.

Three Sticks has curated a special wine pack ($130) that includes the pineapple-hinted 2018 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay and their 2018 Gap's Crown Pinot Noir, with aromas of black cherry, Earl Grey tea and gingerbread, to enjoy as you watch. The Price family will match up to $10,000 in donations.

// Tastings are available by reservation, 143 W Spain (Sonoma), threestickswines.com.

Hess Collection Winery promises to plant 25,000 trees.

While much of 2020's giving has (rightfully) been aimed at protecting vulnerable families and businesses during the pandemic, The Hess Collection Winery hasn't lost sight of a more pervasive global crisis—climate change. In July, the family-owned winery launched the Pour One, Plant One program in partnership with the National Forest Foundation to strengthen national forestlands in high-priority regions across the country.

Over the next year, the proceeds from each bottle of affordable Hess Select wine—from their elegant 2019 California Rose ($12), ripe with notes of red berry and stone fruit, to their 2017 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon ($19)

with its aromas of raspberry and dark cherry—will contribute to the planting of 25,000 trees. The trees will not only help to absorb and store excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major factor in the planet's overall warming, they will help to protect waterways and ecosystems.

// Tastings are available by appointment Friday through Sunday, 4411 Redwood Rd (Napa), hesscollection.com.

​Beckstoffer Vineyards donates directly to laid-off Wine Country workers.

Rutherford's Beckstoffer Vineyards is no stranger to philanthropy. In 2015, the winery raised more than $50,000 for victims of the Valley Fire in Lake County, where they grow more than 1,300 acres of grapes. During the pandemic, however, godfather of cabernet Andy Beckstoffer has taken a more direct approach to helping those in need.

Working with chambers of commerce in Napa, Mendocino, and Lake counties, Beckstoffer cut $300 checks for hourly workers laid off from local hotels, restaurants, and other service industry jobs. Altogether, Beckstoffer has donated $100,000 to more than 100 individuals and families in each county, no strings or fees attached.

Back at the vineyard, Beckstoffer has been fortunate enough to keep its entire staff employed throughout the pandemic where they've continued to produce their famed cabernet grapes (among other varietals) using pioneering sustainability techniques. Find them in bottles from offshoot St. Helena winery Tuck Beckstoffer Estate (run by Beckstoffer's son, Tuck), such as the 2017 75 The Sum Red ($26) with crushed cherry, rhubarb, and cedar notes. // Tours by reservation at Tuck Beckstoffer Estate, 230 N. Fork Crystal Springs Rd (St. Helena), tuckbeckstoffer.com; see beckstoffervineyards.com for other vintner collaborations.

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