"All is Lost"...Helena View Johnston Vineyards / Fire Relief

For: Charlie Johnston + Family
Calistoga, CA
Organizer: Sarah + Tanya Johnston
"All is Lost"...Helena View Johnston Vineyards / Fire Relief (Charlie Johnston + Family)
$5,040
of $10,000 goal
50% Complete
Raised by 46 donors

The Story

In the middle of the night of October 9, the small family winery and homestead of Helena View Johnston Vineyards burned to the ground.  In a quick and forceful swoop, the winery, multiple outparcel buildings, wine cave and family lodging were devastated by the Tubbs Fire.  Built by hand and in operation since 1992, the winery is the life work of our Dad, Charlie, and our family.  The organic vineyards, all inventory, equipment and vehicles, along with a vast collection of personal belongings were lost that evening.  Also lost in the flames were the family cat, Coco, and a menagerie of wild rescue critters being raised by our younger sister.

All who meet Charlie know him to be a passionate and tireless community supporter in the Napa Valley (and beyond).  He has donated his time and wines to countless fundraisers and charitable causes such as the Napa Valley Wine Auction, Napa Valley Opera House, Queen of the Valley Hospital, Napa Valley Community Foundation, Calistoga Community Pool, St Helena Catholic School, High Museum Wine Auction, and many, many others.  Visitors to the winery will fondly remember traipsing through the vineyards, barrel tastings in the cave and copious cheese and appetizer spreads put out in the tasting room.  A visit to Helena View with our Dad was always a unique and memorable experience.  In a tragic twist of fate, it is now time for Charlie and his young family to accept help and support in their own time of need.  

As word of the fire and loss have spread among friends, fans of the winery and supporters far and wide, many have asked how they can help.  We are grateful for any gesture of giving to help him and his family with immediate needs until the insurance process can begin and next steps can be made.  As thanks, Charlie would like to offer any donors to the fund a bottle of his 2007 Napa Valley Chateau Classic wine, which thankfully he had stored a portion of at an off-site facility.  The wine will be made available to donor visitors to the winery site and coordinated at a future time once more infrastructure is in place.  

For information on the fire coverage on Helena View, see article in San Jose Mercury News from 10/12/17. https://goo.gl/UtTdgd
For more photos of the winery and information on Helena View, see our page on the Napa Wine Project website. https://goo.gl/2Ps2Tt

With love and support for all those affected by these devastating recent events, and especially for our Dad, thank you.
Sarah + Tanya Johnston
Daughters of Charlie Johnston

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on February 20, 2018

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Posted on February 20, 2018

Wanted to share this article and update from late 2017 with a wonderful profile of some hearts and hands helping Charlie at Helena View after the fire.

Episcopal food ministries help neighbors give thanks more than a month after deadly Northern California wildfires

Thank you to all for your continued support!

~Sarah Marie


Posted on November 9, 2017

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Posted on November 9, 2017

One Month Ago...

A busy weekend of harvest was wrapping up at Helena View, just as it had for the past 25 harvest seasons since 1992.  The next day on October 9, that all changed in a blink of an eye.  Helena View's organic vineyards and winery completely lost.

Since then, my dad has been busy trying to work his way through the intricacies of the insurance process and establishing communication lines with the various agencies involved in the recuperation efforts.  Not an easy task.

One bright spot he wanted me to share is that the the annual St. Helena Catholic School wine auction (where my youngest sister is a student) is going on and includes a lot with Helena View Wines!

The lot (#109) includes 15 bottles of Helena View Wines from four different vintages going back to 1997, an oil painting by Greg DeLucca, a hot air balloon ride, and tour of Bell Vineyards in Yountville.  For anyone planning a trip to the valley soon, this would make for a very memorable experience and chance to add Helena View back to your collection!  The auction ends on November 19.  Registration and more info is available on the school's auction site at  https://goo.gl/4MSppT.  All proceeds will help the school in their educational offerings and will directly benefit children who are in great need of tuition assistance; including children of first responders, and those impacted by the historic fire storm.

Again, thank you to all who have supported our YouCaring fundraising for my Dad and his family, your hugs and kind words.  It means so much to all of us.  More updates soon!


Posted on October 26, 2017

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Posted on October 26, 2017

Greetings from Helena View...I made a quick decision to head west to help Dad out with some recovery efforts and lend support to the early stages of assessing next steps.  Many agencies involved and lots of moving parts to this, so there's a lot to figure out.  

So happy to report that much of the valley (as seen from Highway 29 heading north) is beautiful and appears untouched by the fires that ravaged the section of the county farther north.  That said, the area around the Tubbs Fire that got Helena View and took many other homes and structures in addition to vineyards and hillsides before jumping to Sonoma County and causing so much destruction there, is really a jarring sight.  

But today, the sun is shining, the smell of crush is in the air and the valley is "Open for Business"!   "Thank You First Responders" and #NapaValleyStrong signs are everywhere as reminders of the recent events, but also reminders that there is also much to be thankful for.  

Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to my YouCaring fundraising effort for my Dad and his family; we are all incredibly touched by the generosity and well-wishes from far and wide.

Hugs, Sarah Marie

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