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Business Beat: 11/01/2020

Business Beat — November 1, 2020

Glen Ellen Village Market campaign to raise funds for housing

In collaboration with their customers, Mar-Val Food Stores, the owner of the Glen Ellen Village Market, is raising money to help victims of wildfires in the California communities it serves. Shoppers are invited to donate any amount they wish and Mar-Val will match all contributions up to $50,000.

Mar-Val’s goal is to raise $100,000. They will donate all proceeds to Habitat for Humanity chapters that benefit areas impacted by the LNU Lightning Complex, Creek, and North Complex fires.

Habitat for Humanity provides long term assistance to low-income families including those who have been devastated by fires.

The campaign started in September and has raised over $25,000 so far with over $7,000 coming from the Glen Ellen location according to Joe Pedro, the manager at the Glen Ellen Village Market. They don’t have a specific end date yet. The Market hopes to collect donations until they meet their goal.

To donate, stop by the cash registers at the Glen Ellen Village Market.

Paradise Lost in Kenwood

Paradises Ridge Tasting Room

The Paradise Ridge Tasting Room Sonoma Highway outpost in Kenwood will close its doors at the end of this year – another victim of 2020. The family-owned winery will consolidate operations and continue to offer wine experiences at its 155-acre estate property in Santa Rosa. The rebuild of the Paradise Ridge estate location recently reopened for outdoor wine tasting after it was destroyed in the firestorm of 2017.

In a recent email sent to wine club members, Rene Byck, who co-owns Paradise Ridge Winery with his sister Sonia Byck-Barwick, shared his gratitude for the Kenwood Community “When our doors first opened in Kenwood we were immediately welcomed into the community and we loved being part of and supporting Sonoma Valley. We enjoyed the wonderful people and hospitality that makes the valley so very special. In Kenwood we made many friends for our winery and family — for that, we are forever grateful. Thanks to all of your help and support we are no longer an unknown winery and would love to show off our beautiful property we call Paradise.”

Survey details state of wine industry

2020 is a year many in the Sonoma County wine industry would rather forget – COVID-19 and its effects on health and business operations, fires and evacuations, smoke damage to grapes, etc.

Sonoma County Winegrowers recently released the results of a survey of its members, and 2020 doesn’t look so good.

“No one could have predicted how the external events of 2020 would impact the entire community in Sonoma County including growers, vintners, workers, local hotels, restaurants, stores, suppliers and, ultimately, local residents,” said Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers. She added, “We estimate between 25 and 30 percent of the Sonoma County winegrape harvest will go unpicked due to the pandemic and fires. We are also still waiting to learn what wines will be made this year. So far, we have identified approximately a $150,000,000 loss to growers which will have a ripple effect on the County’s local wine and tourism industries which can contribute up to $13.4 billion annually to the local economy in a normal year.”

Some of the survey’s findings:

  • More than 70 percent of all winegrape growers in Sonoma County anticipate having at least some grapes that will go unpicked or be rejected by wineries due to the wildfires.
  • Grape growers estimate that the total tonnage of unpicked grapes due to marketplace dynamics, COVID’s impact on local wineries and tourism, and the fires will exceed 50,000 tons; this is on a lower than average base of 180,000 tons due to the anticipated lighter crop this season.
  • The estimated crop value for winegrapes that were not harvested equates to $151,657,081.
  • After a decade of labor shortages and losing additional employees to jobs in construction and an emerging cannabis industry, local winegrape growers began shifting away from relying on seasonal vineyard workers to hiring full-time employees which eliminated the need to constantly attract and secure new seasonal workers each year
  • According to the grower survey:
  • Today, more than 80 percent of local vineyard workers in Sonoma County are full-time which is nearly a 20 percent increase since 2017.
  • Women now account for 20 percent of the local vineyard workforce.
  • The average hourly rate of pay for Sonoma County vineyard workers is $19.87 per hour.
  • The average hourly wage has increased $3.13 per hour since 2017.
  • During the same period, the shift to full-time employment has led to a decrease in the seasonal workforce by approximately 50 percent, mechanized harvesting is now done on 30 percent of the vineyard acres in Sonoma County, and participation in the H-2A Guest Worker Program continues to grow.
  • In Sonoma County, just 5.6 percent of the region’s Latinx population are employed as vineyard workers.
Looking ahead, according to the organization, top concerns for Sonoma County grape growers are more research on the impacts of smoke; access to rapid testing to measure smoke exposure; and, a dedicated effort to clean up dead trees and brush in forests and woodlands to prevent or slow the spread of fires.

For more information on Sonoma County Winegrowers and the report, go to

Special Kenwood Inn & Spa package

For the ultimate private retreat experience, Kenwood Inn & Spa is offering a new La Vita Privata luxury package this season, available Mondays through Fridays, now through Nov. 25.

La Vita Privata includes two nights at the inn, exclusive use of the Spa Terrace Cabana, a private, on-site wine tasting by Muscardini Cellars featuring a flight of six wines paired with small bites, and dinner for two created by Chef Sam Badolato accompanied by a bottle of wine. All guests of Kenwood Inn & Spa enjoy breakfast each morning and a daily afternoon wine and cheese mini-picnic.

La Vita Privata must be reserved at least seven days in advance. Price depends upon the guestroom and dates selected; prices begin at $1,351 per couple for the two-night stay, plus tax and resort fee.

For reservations or more information, see the website at, or call the inn at 800-353-6966.

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