Fire Burns Down Oakstone Winery, Vintner Smith Vows to Rebuild
"The winery has burned down, but the oakstone still stands. We will rebuild!" a new post to the winery's webpage reads.
Cris Alarcon, PRpond, July 7, 2012
By 4:45 am the winery was fully engulfed by fire and the facility, with the inventory, appears to be a complete loss. Losses that could reach upwards to $10 million dollars as the building, equipment, and storage of much of 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages were involved.
The cause of the fire is unknown and currently under investigation. The fire started sometime before 4:30am, July 7, 2012. No one was injured.
Winery owner John Smith, who looked visibly shaken while closing the gates after the fire was put out, is well know for his indomitable spirit. Before the fire was extinguished he had updated the winery website saying, "The winery has burned down, but the oakstone still stands. We will rebuild!"
Fellow winery owner Dave Pratt was on the scene just after 5:00am after being alerted by his daughter of fire and explosions coming from the vicinity of the nearby Oakstone winery. He and his wife Kim were shocked and concerned but also expressed confidence that if anyone could face down such a catastrophic business loss and recover from it, it was their friend John Smith.
District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting also came by to offer his condolences and vowed to help get the winery back in business as soon as possible. He said that Oakstone Winery was one of the key elements in the area and that in these times of a weak economy, it was critical to get it back as a productive element of the local economy. He added that he would cut red tape and stream-line the rebuilding process as much as possible. "I will do everything I can to see that the county does not hinder this business from reopening" said Nutting.
About the winery:
Oakstone Winery opened in March of 1997 as the culmination of twenty-five years of preparation by its owners, John and Susan Smith. The winery is located in the Fair Play American Viticultural Area, where rolling hillsides emphasize the warm days and cool nights that produce grapes and wines of unusual intensity. The 2500-foot elevation of Fair Play combines with deep, rich decomposed granite soils to add strength and complexity to the wines.
Featured wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Meritage, all from the estate "De Cascabel" vineyard. Additional wines include Pinot Grigio, estate Zinfandels, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah and a selection of varietal Ports. Slug Gulch Red, a non-vintage, very affordable red table wine, has achieved cult status with customers who have consistently found it to be the “best mediocre red wine” in the area. Small lots of specialty wines are made each year in response to the annual variations in weather and grape crop from the twenty-four acres of estate grapes, and serve as a reward for visitors who make the trip up to Slug Gulch Road.
John Smith speaking in the winery prior to the fire.