Hamel Family Wines: Grand Ilumination


Hamel Family Wines, 15401 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma


12/03/2016 - 12/03/2016
04:00 pm - 06:00 pm

Based loosely on what is known as the annual “Grand Illumination” in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia where the historic town is lit up for the holidays all at once to kick off the season, we came up with an idea for a simple Sonoma Valley community celebration to welcome the holiday season—albeit in HFW style.  Our (none too original) idea was to host a fun event at the winery for all ages, with food, music, and some cool holiday merriment, all while raising funds for local not-for-profit organizations serving our community.

It’s hard for us to believe that this will be the third year of our Lighting of the Vines (“LOTV”) celebration, and we’re humbled by the event’s popularity and good cheer.  In the past two years, we’ve been able to make meaningful donations of the proceeds from LOTV to the Sonoma Valley Boys and Girls Club, and the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation—two organizations doing great work locally that are both near and dear to our collective HFW hearts.

Due to the popularity of our LOTV, we are actually going to host it on two afternoons/evenings this year—Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th.  Each day will be the same great program, and will begin at 4:00 p.m., and conclude after our signature lighting of the vines set to holiday music around 6:00 p.m.  We dare say that this year will be our biggest and best event(s) yet….just wait until you see what we have in store….

This year’s beneficiary of the community’s generosity through LOTV is personal to us here at HFW.  All of the proceeds raised at LOTV will benefit the family of Kate Nagle–a friend and colleague of ours at HFW.  We’ve known Kate, a talented photographer, since our pre-HFW days, and she has photographed almost everything at HFW since we opened in June, 2014 (and even before we opened for that matter). Kate and her husband Matt have two children, Madeline (age 16) and Frankie (age 3 ½).

Kate, Matt and their two children live a “normal” life in Santa Rosa, or at least they did until this past May, when everything changed.  In Matt’s own words:

“On May 9th, 2016 our lives were flipped upside down when our three year old, Frankie, was diagnosed with a large brain tumor behind his right eye. After a full resection and successful surgery we were told he had an extremely rare and aggressive cancer known as AT/RT. It was on this day our perfect, trouble-free life stopped and our new one began…”

For those of us who are parents, it’s the kind of news that one hopes never ever to receive. For those of us whose lives have been impacted in some way by cancer, directly or indirectly, we know that this horrible disease is indiscriminate in whom it assaults, and is never “fair” in terms of who and when it attacks.  This time though, cancer chose a family determined to fight back with every ounce of energy they can collectively muster….

For Kate and Matt, who are each self-employed, they have put their own lives on hold and have dedicated their complete and entire collective energies in helping Frankie fight this terrible disease like a heavyweight prize fighter. They have both stopped working and are with their happy, precious Frankie, 24 hours per day, and seven days per week.  Matt has periodically written/updated a blog about their journey that is extremely poignant and well written, and updates Frankie’s progress in his fight.  You can check it out here: .

We are charging $60 per person for admission to LOTV (children under 12 are free). 100% of the ticket proceeds will go to help Kate and Matt continue to fight alongside Frankie, while he receives and recovers from his treatments. If you are so inclined, you may also contribute any amount above the $60 per person admissions charge, and it will also go 100% to Kate and Matt to help defray the cost of both choosing to be by Frankie’s side throughout his difficult fight.

We hope you’ll join us on either Saturday, December 3rd and/or Sunday, December 4th for our distinctive take on welcoming in the holiday season, and help us demonstrate the power of community to Kate, Matt, Madeline, and most importantly, to Frankie.

Please contact us at (707) 996-5800 or to reserve your spot(s) or for more information on Lighting of the Vines.  We hope to see you here. We hope to see you here on December 3rd and/or 4th.