Visitors to the Sonoita Vineyards fundraiser wait to get a glass of wine at the crowded bar. Photo by Dottie Farrar

On March 19, people came by car, tour bus, motorcycle, and, of course, pick-ups, to help Sonoita Vineyards owners, Robi and Lori Reynolds recover from the damage done by the Longview Fire earlier in the month. The fire had damaged the vineyard and some outbuildings that were not covered by insurance, as well as causing some damage to the Reynolds’ house.

The fundraising event featured the bands Border Hookups and The Band Wanted, along with the tasting room, a food truck, “buy it now” items and a silent auction. The event was organized by Candy Carpenter, Tina Moody, Jackie Jones, and Kim Rego.

Starting at 10 a.m., people began filling the parking areas. The Band Wanted set up outside on the portico and began performing, but had to stop because of the cold, windy morning
weather. Inside, in the downstairs tasting room, was a large display of “buy it now” and silent auction items, including a beautiful, handcrafted saddle, a lunch or dinner for eight at the Babacomari Ranch, many choices of wine, beef from the Vera Earl Ranch, wine display racks, paintings and much more. Visitors, including a well-behaved dog, jockeyed for room at the sign-up sheets while balancing glasses of wine purchased from the adjacent wine bar.

Around one o’clock the Border Hookups began warming up in the upstairs tasting room, and a large portion of the crowd moved upstairs, spilling out onto the balcony to enjoy the music, wine and beautiful views of the surrounding grasslands and mountains. Back downstairs, later in the afternoon, the silent auction exceeded expectations, raising over $3,000. The “buy it now” items netted over $1,100.

Candy Carpenter of The Band Wanted said, “The event was a huge success and brought joy to all.” The community, organizers, bands, servers, donors, and friends had all come together to do good and have fun.

An online gofundme campaign organized by Anna Coleman, of Sonoita, so far has raised more than $3,000 for the Reynolds family.

After the event, a very grateful Lori Reynolds said, “Thank you pretty much to the whole community. Such good energy, good vibes from the people who love us, and we love everybody. I started the day crying, thinking about this warm, awesome community, and
ended the day feeling so thankful. Everyone has been so generous, so kind. Even the weekend before the event, Hops and Vines and the Ranch House gave us part of their proceeds. The Fairgrounds has let us use their washer and dryer, as have other friends. I can’t wait to get back into our house. Special thanks to Team Squirrel, Kim Rego, Candy Carpenter, and so many others that it is hard to name each and every one. I feel so blessed to live here.”

Sonoita Vineyards is the oldest commercial vineyard and winery in Arizona. Continuously operating since 1983, the vineyard produces 10,000 gallons of wine each year. The vineyard hosts both public and private events including tastings, weddings, getaways, and retreats. Lori Reynolds, granddaughter of founder Dr. Gordon Dutt, is the current winemaker and Robi Reynolds is the vineyard manager.