Sonoita Vineyards receives community help with fire damage

Reynolds family still dealing with aftermath of blaze that damaged business, home
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 12:42 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Community members came together on Saturday, March 18, for a fundraiser in support of Sonoita Vineyards, after the business faced significant damage in the Longview Fire.

For the past few weeks, boxes have lined the inside of their tasting room. Each one holds different bottles of wine that used to be stored in their building.

These bottles had to be sanitized and placed in the boxes before they can be served or purchased.

“So, the restoration company and the director of the Arizona Department of Health said every bottle has to be sanitized, but the boxes have to be thrown away because of the smoke damage,” said Lori Reynolds, owner of Sonoita Vineyards.

Sonoita Vineyards became the first winery in Arizona after Reynolds’ grandfather opened the doors in 1974. Since then, the community and people from across the state have come to know and enjoy their products.

But Reynolds said they are unsure if they will be able to keep up their production this year because the barrels they use to store the wine were damaged by smoke.

“The barrels when they get smoke damage, they are kind of toast. They just made some wine so we will see. It tastes pretty smoky to me, so that might be smoke damage as well,” Reynolds said.

The good news is they think they have found a temporary place to make their wine.

And as they head into the growing season, they are still unsure how much of the vineyard was actually damaged. They must wait until next month when the vines began to wake up.

“So far, they estimated between four, four acres around that, but we’re not going to know how much is damaged until they start waking up, which will be next month,” Reynolds said.

And while they wait for the final cost of damage and whether they can go into production, Reynolds said they have had continual community support.

In the fire, part of their house was damaged, which also encouraged people to help out.

“It’s just so touching. Our community here, really, it’s just been amazing. People bring us dinner. I get random envelopes of money to try to help us,” Reynolds said.

Alex Quirota, who has worked for the Reynolds for the past three years said seeing the community come together in support of the business was surreal.

“We are so appreciative for this community, everything that they’ve done everything that they brought in and brought people here to help. It is incredible,” Quirota said.

And while the overall day was considered a success, it also sparked a moment of panic for all the employees as a small grass fire started on the edge of the property.

“It was straight panic; it was like flashbacks. So, wildfires out here are so scary because you don’t even realize the smallest spark and with these grasslands and the winds, they can get out of control very quickly,” Quirota said.

To help support the Reynolds family, people can still visit the vineyard for a wine tasting or donate to their GoFundMe page HERE.