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Uncrushable: Wine Country’s resilient spirit shines at The Grateful Table

By Ryan Becker 11/28/2017

Last week, more than 500 people gathered in the heart of California’s Wine Country for a once-in-a-lifetime feast that served up much more than what was on the menu. 

On Nov. 21, The Grateful Table brought together diners from across the state for a fundraiser to help communities affected by recent wildfires. First responders, community members, local business owners and journalists joined paying guests from as far away as Mexico City, São Paulo and Toronto at the 500-foot-long table set in a vineyard along the Napa-Sonoma county line.

Visit California – along with destination partners in the region – hosted the event in partnership with Food Network chef Tyler Florence and Outstanding in the Field, delivering a world-class menu in unforgettable fashion. Ticket sales raised nearly $150,000, all of which is being donated directly to the Mendocino County Disaster Fund, Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, Sonoma County Resilience Fund and California Restaurant Association Foundation.

“This Thanksgiving, we are incredibly thankful for the support our Wine Country communities have received from around the world,” said Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta. “Our guests came from far and near during a holiday week to share our table and support this community. I want to thank the hundreds of people that came together at The Grateful Table and the countless travelers who continue to visit the region and support the local economy.” 

The Grateful Table served as a celebration of the region’s strength, resilience and uncrushable spirit, fostering a unique moment of togetherness for a region that continues to recover from October’s wildfires. Guests included firefighters, 911 dispatchers, California Highway Patrol and more, as well as families who lost their homes or businesses.

As recovery efforts continue, rebuilding the region’s robust tourism economy continues to be an ongoing challenge. To that end, media coverage of The Grateful Table shined a much-needed international spotlight on the region, amplifying an “open for business” message around the world. Coverage continues to pour in, so far reaching 14 million people with an earned media value of $2.7 million. 

The experience they captured could not have been more picturesque, as the vineyard’s vivid fall colors shone under a beaming sun that glinted off hundreds of wine glasses, toasted by Californians who stood strong together in support of their neighbors in the iconic region.

“This was the dream — to have this beautiful autumn day right on the 50-yard line between Napa and Sonoma — and to be able to do something really, really special like this,” Florence said.

Nearly 20 All-Star chefs from some of the region’s most acclaimed restaurants – including Chris Cosentino (Cockscomb, Acacia House), Tonya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen) and Steve Litke (Farmhouse Inn) – joined Florence in putting on the Thanksgiving-themed feast. 

The menu featured dishes prepared almost entirely with ingredients sourced from the surrounding region. Over the course of the meal, diners passed platters in true Thanksgiving fashion – family-style – while sampling lamb from Superior Farms, turkey from Sonoma County, butternut squash risotto and more.

Dozens of wineries, breweries, farms and businesses contributed generous donations to make the event possible: 

“We’ve come together because of the fires in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties,” said Sonoma Country Tourism President and CEO Claudia Vecchio, “but you can feel the warmth in the air as we all come together to celebrate being Californians in this extraordinary place we get to call home.”

For more information on how to support those impacted by the Wine Country fires and to make a donation in support of those affected, visit

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