Vacaville business owner focuses on rebuilding after wildfire destroys his winery

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VACAVILLE, Calif. (KTXL)  — As the LNU Lightning Complex fires continue to burn, many families are left to deal with the damage.

In Vacaville, several farms, animal sanctuaries and wineries burned down.

Not only were homes destroyed in this fire but also people’s livelihoods, including what used to be La Borgata Winery and Distillery.

“I laid every single one of these retaining blocks,” owner Gerry Iuliano told FOX40. “I’ve touched everything on this property. Every penny that I have, I don’t even have money in the bank because it’s all been invested here.”

Iuliano said he built his winery from the ground up with his father’s help before it was destroyed in the LNU Lightning Complex fires.

“You know, my dad passed away like three years ago,” Iuliano said. “There’s so much stuff that we made in there, like the concrete top that sat on top, I mean, everything. We built the whole thing. So there’s a lot of memories that were in there.”

Iuliano said he and his husband David hurried into their cars Tuesday evening as the fire raged toward their winery.

“It was so scary, it looked like Armageddon,” Iuliano recalled.

They didn’t have time to evacuate their animals but when they came back the next morning, there was relief.

“The goats are alive. The chickens are alive. I was like, ‘Thank you, God,’” Iuliano said.

His house, right next to the winery, was also spared and he said he believes his goats are to thank.

“They saved our property because they ate down all the grass,” Iuliano said.

While his vineyards are scorched and his wine supply gone, he said he still considers himself lucky.

“You can see all down across Pleasants Valley Road how many people lost their homes and everything that was in it. I don’t think that those things can ever be recovered,” Iuliano said.

He said he’s hoping his community isn’t lost too.

“I hope we can rebuild it,” Iuliano said.

For those who want to help contribute to Iuliano’s winery fire relief fund, tap or click here.

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