Topics & PerspectivesLife & Lifestyle

Holiday Wines Season

Putting Gratitude and Giving Front and Center

Instead of writing another story about holiday food recipes this season, I’d like to talk about how we can help struggling winemakers.

This topic became real for me when I met Seth Cripe, fellow Florida native and owner of Lola Wines in Napa Valley. Seth had planned an online tasting event with a few friends and me, but had to postpone the event to evacuate his family from their home and vineyard due to the nearby wildfires.

Globally, the wine business struggled in 2020 because of climate change and the pandemic. From physical devastation to the lingering effects of Covid-19, challenges are still widespread. Climate change has incurred terrifying wildfires and severe drought on the US West Coast, Greece, and southern France, and severely damaging frosts to French vineyards.

In El Dorado, California, one winery has stepped up with compassion. At their 148-acre ranch property, Saureel Vineyards temporarily took in 560 animals displaced by the Caldor Wildfire. Although we can’t all adopt large farm animals or provide shelter, we can help by supporting organizations like Saureel Vineyards.

As wine lovers, we can purchase, drink, and share wines from these communities. We can also encourage our families, friends, and neighbors to do the same.

South Africa, home to delightfully affordable and incredibly drinkable wines, is a great place to start. The wine business there has suffered unimaginably during the pandemic because of Covid restrictions.

Show your support by:

  • Visiting a local wine retailer and purchase a case of South African wines.
  • Hosting a tasting party either in person or online.
  • Posting pictures on the SaveSAwine Facebook page.

After tasting these wines, you’ll understand their value and why we must save this global wine treasure.

Provence rosé has also become a worldwide favorite. But intense wildfires driven by heatwaves, drought, and strong winds have destroyed some 19,000 acres there, with some estates losing everything. Even worse, these fires were preceded by severe frosts and hail earlier in the year, incurring even more damage. And vineyards all over France have suffered from frost and hail.

To support French winemakers, start your holiday shopping early. Buy several mixed cases of French wines for all your holiday needs. Rosé makes a perfect match at Thanksgiving, a nice December holiday gift, and, in sparkling form, a great New Year’s Eve party starter!

Climate change continues to plague West Coast wineries in California, Oregon, and Washington. The crisis has prompted industry leaders from these states to create the West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force to support research.

Finally, let’s remember our friends in Australia. These vineyards have become living exhibits of how climate change affects the wine business. The Australians are sharing hard-earned lessons with fortitude, passion, and innovation. Buy Australian wines to show your support to these dedicated professionals.

The best way to help grape growers and winemakers is to buy wine!


Jeanne Savelle

Jeanne Savelle writes about wine for wineries, importers, and distributors. She has several certifications from The Wine Scholar Guild and WSET. She has spent 30 years following the wine business around the world. You can learn more at:,

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