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Despite extensive fire damage, Helwig Winery in Amador County ‘up and running’

A fire late Monday caused extensive damage to a portion of Helwig Winery in Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley.
A fire late Monday caused extensive damage to a portion of Helwig Winery in Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley. Amador County Protection District

A fire late Monday caused extensive damage to a portion of Helwig Winery in Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley.

Amador Fire Protection District firefighters and other fire departments responded to the commercial structure fire just after 11 p.m. after “a neighbor heard a noise or a popping sound” and called 911, said Fire Chief David Bellerive.

The blaze caused damage to the winery facility building, which houses some of the winery’s offices, empty wine tanks and one of two kitchens on the site, said Kathleen Mahan, event manager. Bellerive said the kitchen was completely destroyed in the fire, which he said caused extensive damage to the building.

Mahan said despite the serious blaze, the fire did not spread to other areas of the winery, such as the tasting room or the outdoor pavilion area, where the winery holds a summer concert series.

“There definitely is a silver lining with the quick response and the location of the fire,” Mahan said. “It’s really not going to affect our day-to-day operations at all.”

Six engine companies and five water tenders responded to put out the fire. Fire departments from throughout the region helped extinguish the blaze. A fire investigator was at the scene of the fire by 11 a.m. Tuesday to investigate the cause of the fire, though no foul play was suspected as of that morning, Bellerive said.

“We still need to look at surveillance cameras,” he said. “But the initial report, since we were on the scene so quickly, we don’t think we’re going down that road.”

Mahan said the winery was open normal hours on Tuesday and that the fire would not affect the winery’s upcoming Mother’s Day brunch or other events. Employees who worked out of the office space have been relocated to another area of the winery, she said.

The 6-year-old winery also has wine caves and hosts weddings, family gatherings and seminars.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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