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The wildfires that recently ravaged Northern California forced nearly 100,000 evacuations, claimed at least 42 lives and destroyed close to 9,000 buildings. The cleanup now underway is complicated by the fact that much of the ash and debris is toxic, and full recovery is estimated to take several years with losses totaling more than $1 billion.

Though it’s 3,000 miles away from Philadelphia, the area holds a special place in the hearts of local wine lovers and professionals, many of whom personally know families and small businesses affected by the disaster. So they’re coming together to host a fundraiser to help the relief efforts.

From 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, there’s a walk-around tasting event featuring wine paired with small bites served by some of Philly’s best chefs.

Held at Drexel’s Academic Bistro at 33rd and Arch streets, the evening will also feature a few world-renowned sommeliers, including Patrick Cappiello, who is partner at Walnut Street Cafe (he created the awesome Citywide menu) and cofounder of an impromptu coalition that last week held similar events in NYC, San Francisco and Healdsburg, Ca. For the Philly one, tickets are $50 for an all-inclusive evening of food and drink.


Per the organizers, who include Philly Wine Week board members, Vetri Family beverage director Steve Wildy and folks from the Drexel University Center for Food and Hospitality Management, 100 percent of monies raised that night will benefit wildfire victims.

It’s important to note that those whose livelihoods have been affected aren’t just rich owners of vineyards and wineries. Wine country tourism is the engine for many businesses that have been decimated, from retail shops and bed and breakfasts, to guided tour and transportation companies.

As of right now, only 100 tickets to the Nov. 8 event will be sold, so snap yours up while you can.

Update: Philly Wine Week members are organizing additional “Clink to California” fundraising events to be held throughout the week from Nov. 6-12. Check the website to stay posted or follow #PhillyLovesCali on social.

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Danya Henninger

Danya Henninger is director of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the...