Glass Fire

Family, Friends Save St. Helena Winery From Glass Fire

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Glass Fire has destroyed many wineries in the North Bay but one winery, that was on the verge of destruction, was saved. Not by firefighters, but by family and employees who took a stand, refusing to let it burn. 

On Sunday the Barnett family realized that their home and their winery were in the fire path so they decided they should leave, and then come back to save what they worked for for 37 years.

“There were times where this could go south very quickly,” said Jonathan Cline of Barnett Vineyards, who remembers gripping a 2-inch hose and fighting a fire that was so close to burning down the family business located in the hills of St. Helena.

“It’s hard to put into words what this means to us. It’s much more than just a winery and beautiful landscape,” Cline said, who got married in the winery.

His mother-in-law Fiona and her husband built Barnett Vineyards in the 80s from the ground up.

“It looks so normal right now,” said Fiona Barnett. “All of a sudden we looked over, Johnny saw some flames coming out over there and all of a sudden we realized it’s getting really close.”

Panic set in. Pipes started melting, electricity cut and the saving grace was the pool in the backyard.

“We dropped the pumps in there 500 feet between myself, Joe and Johnny. We ran it to the vineyard up behind the house,” said winemaker David Tate.

The Barnett’s extended family, employees and even a neighbor who lost their home and winery helped save theirs, something Fiona calls a blessing.

“This is where the kids were raised and this is what we do. Been here since 1983, built the house in 86 we weren’t about to let it burn,” she said.

A pledge, with a lot of help, she was able to keep.

“We just feel fortunate we still have a winery and we still have a house and we have a lot of people to thank for that for sure,” Fiona said

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