The Summit Fire and Santa Cruz Mtns. Vintner’s Festival

Ξ May 29th, 2008 | → 2 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, Wine News, Wineries |

The Summit Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains is 100% contained according to the California Department of Forestry. Control is expected by 6:00 p.m. today, May 30th, according to Cal Fire spokesman Guy Martin. The fire has burned some 4,300 acres, claimed 31 residences and 63 outbuildings, and many domestic animals. My heart goes out to all those who have experienced loss. The Santa Cruz Sentinel has published a list of those giving aid, including the Red Cross where donations my be made. And please see the paper’s Thursday (5/29) issue for a good summary of recent fire events.


[To see the map above in full click here]

The fire burned largely across the summit, along very rough, high ridgelines and steep valleys. The wind still plays havoc, stoking embers. Containment does not mean the fire is out. Indeed, the fuels that fed the blaze will smolder for weeks to come requiring constant vigilance.


I began calling wineries around the fire-affected area of the AVA last Friday: Silver Mountain Vineyards just off Summit Road, Loma Prieta Winery on Loma Prieta Way along Highland, and Windy Oaks Estate on Hazel Dell Road off Browns Valley Road, five miles from Corralitos. A remarkable thing: among the winery owners and staff I spoke with the community spirit is especially strong. I would hardly finish mentioning a nearby winery when they would ask for more information. Each seemed more concerned with the current fire status of their neighbor! And everyone remained very calm. Even when Amy Kemp, owner (along with husband Paul Kemp) of Loma Prieta Winery was cut off early from her family by road closures. (Amy knows the backroads and how to drive a four wheeler. She was not separated for long!) Or when Mary Lindsay of Silver Mountain (and of the Viticulture Association of the Santa Cruz Mountains) was uncertain of the fate of her house. (It is safe.) Or when Judy Schultze of Windy Oaks could see the fire burning less than a half-mile away, trees “exploding” along a ridgeline. Judy and Jim Schultze had piled important possessions into a vehicle waiting for the mandatory evacuation order which thankfully never came. They’ve begun unpacking.

Very durable, dependable folk. We should all have such neighbors.


For the next two weekends the wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains are hosting the much anticipated Vintner’s Festival, beginning May 31st and June 1st, with the Western Side, the general site of the Summit fire. The following weekend, June 7th and 8th, will be featured Eastern Side wineries. While you enjoy the AVA’s fine wine and smart conversation please reflect for a moment on those who’ve lost so much just days before. And consider giving to the local chapter of the Red Cross. The good life is a fragile thing.



2 Responses to ' The Summit Fire and Santa Cruz Mtns. Vintner’s Festival '

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  1. Natalie Dover said,

    on June 2nd, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Very nice website. I was wondering if you knew if any of the homes on Loma Prieta Way were destroyed in the Summit Fire? My husband had built a home up there about 15 years ago, and we haven’t been back in years. It is such a beautiful area.
    Thank you, in advance, for your reply!

  2. Administrator said,

    on June 2nd, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for writing, Natalie. I have it on good authority that no homes were lost on Loma Prieta Way. Your husband’s work still stands.

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