California Wine Country businesses step up to help in lockdown

The business challenges brought by the response to the coronavirus are apparent everywhere. But less apparent, the ways organizations and people are reaching out to help. Here's a sampling of businesses' responses to the crisis.

Vintners help restaurant workers

Sonoma County Vintners Foundation announced that it would provide funding to community groups that are aiding local residents who have been hampered by the coronavirus.

The group is providing $145,000 to Corazón Healdsburg to help with financial assistance for winery and restaurant employees who have been furloughed. Applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis and there are a variety of requirements to qualify.

The foundation is also allocating $1 million in grants to about 80 nonprofits earlier than usual so they can use it within the community to address needs as a result of the shelter-in-place order. The funds came from winning bids from last year's Sonoma County Wine Auction.

Workers furloughed by Kreysler & Associates remain busy with crafting personal protective equipment while the Vallejo-based maker of architectural-enhancement structures for buildings such as the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco awaits the lifting of shelter orders. They have raised about half of a $10,000 goal to initially produce and deliver 10,000 units from their garages.

"We've made over 1000 in the last week and hoping to get to 400-500/day," wrote Bill Kreysler in an email to the city of Vallejo.

Patrick Delorey and Gene Cooper, CEO of Napa-based photography company GIGAmacro, started the fundraiser to back production of baseball caps that have an attached clear polycarbonate plastic shield, protecting health workers from potentially infectious droplets from coughs or sneezes.

Kreysler employees have teamed with Berkeley resident Carl Bass, former CEO of San Rafael-based Autodesk and co-founder of other construction tech ventures, to make the devices for $1 apiece. With donated hats from San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors, teams of volunteers from Kreysler and other organization have delivered thousands of shields to nurses and doctors in the Bay Area and nationwide.

Shining a light on the need

Lakebound Candle Co. in Windsor in Sonoma County released a limited-edition Love & Light candle with proceeds benefiting Redwood Empire Food Bank.

The company states that $5 of each candle sale will go directly to Redwood Empire Food Bank. Hand poured and made with American grown soy wax, Love & Light has notes of clementine, mint and chamomile. To launch Love & Light, Lakebound Candle Co. created a “Spread the Love” campaign and gave away 10 candles to individuals working the front lines of Covid-19. Nurses, doctors, cashiers, delivery drivers, first responders, and postal workers were some of the many people that fans nominated to receive one on the company's Instagram page, the company stated.

Breads that benefit

Costeaux French Bakery in Sonoma County announced it will make 15,000 loaves of bread per month to support the work of the Redwood Empire Food Bank and Sonoma Family Meals.

The bakery stated it has committed to the first 2,500 loaves of bread and is now seeking others to help. For each loaf purchased, Costeaux will match that with another loaf of bread.

The public can support this initiative with a $5 dollar contribution for a loaf which will be matched by Costeaux, its announcement stated. There's opportunity in volume as well. A $20 contribution buys five loaves and $100 contribution buys 30 loaves all of which will be matched by Costeaux. Visit Costeaux.Shop to support the Knead Program or direct donations can be sent to Redwood Empire Food Bank ( or Sonoma Family Meal (

Aid for Marin's small businesses

County of Marin, the City of San Rafael and the San Rafael Chamber have collaborated to launch the San Rafael Small Business COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund. Organizers stated the intention of this fund is to help small businesses struggling to maintain cash flow and financial solvency during these unprecedented times.

The Disaster Relief Fund will allow qualified small businesses to apply for one-time grants in amounts up to $5,000 to help pay for immediate operational costs, including but not limited to rent, payroll, utilities and loan payments.

To date, approximately $200,000 is available in the Relief Fund which is being administered by The San Rafael Chamber Educational Foundation, Inc.

To review eligibility for the San Rafael Small Business COVID19 Disaster Relief Fund please visit our website at Complete applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) on Monday, April 20.

Helping health care workers

Ridgely Evers, creator of the QuickBooks accounting software program. Colleen McGlynn was chef/owner of the late, great Samba Java restaurant on Healdsburg's Plaza have teamed with Big John's Market owners John and Kim Lloyd to sell Avivo Vermentino and Avivo Sangiovese at the Healdsburg store, with proceeds helping supply Healdsburg District Hospital with equipment and protective clothing it will need if the coronavirus outbreak elevates.

Chamber aids businesses

The Santa Rosa Metro Chamber, in partnership with Community Foundation Sonoma County, is making grants of up to $2,000 available to small businesses negatively impacted by the shelter-in-place restrictions.

The grants are available to any Sonoma County small business with 20 or fewer employees, regardless of their affiliation with the Metro Chamber and regardless of the citizenship of the business owner.

The small business emergency grants will be distributed through the Metro Chamber's 501(c)(3), New Vision Santa Rosa Foundation. The fund has received an initial $50,000 from Community Foundation Sonoma County.

Aid for sommeliers

Crimson Wine Group Ltd. announced plans to support to sommeliers who are currently unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crimson Wine Group's (Crimson) Support Our Sommeliers (SOS) initiative invites sommeliers from the across the country to share their stories and experiences on its social media platforms.

Each sommelier influencer who participates in a wine educational video will receive a stipend and a donation will be made to C.O.R.E. (Children of Restaurant Employees). The Crimson brands participating in the program include: Pine Ridge Vineyards (Napa), Seghesio Family Vineyards (Healdsburg), Archery Summit (Dayton, Oregon), and Malene Wines from California.

$10M raised for relief

The Marin Community Foundation says it has donated more than $10 million to help local organizations respond to the coronavirus emergency.

The foundation manages about $1.65 billion in donor-advised family funds. There is about $850 million in the Buck Trust, which the foundation was originally created to manage.

Foundation employees work closely with the owners of the family funds to help them decide how their money should be spent. Previously announced spending by the foundation included $1.5 million in grants that was divided among 20 nonprofit organizations; $500,000 that matched an equal amount contributed from Marin County's general fund; and $250,000 spent to purchase N95 masks from China.

Show Comment

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette