Sonoma Valley wildfire sends buzz through some winery tasting rooms

A wildfire in the Sonoma Valley Wednesday sent a buzz through some winery tasting rooms.

"We couldn't really quite tell exactly where it was," said Liam Forsyth who works in hospitality at Nicholson Ranch Winery on Napa Road.

About 2 p.m., staff and visitors started to see smoke billowing behind the property.

"We couldn't tell how close it was or where it was moving, it was a little bit scary at first," admitted Forsyth.

By day's end the Fremont fire, named for Fremont Drive, had charred 116 acres and was 80% contained.

"We're looking at about 107 firefighters on scene, including air attack and our helicopters," said CalFire spokesman Tyree Zander. "Last week, we got a little bit of rain but it didn't bring enough to change our moistures in the fuel."

The fire sent up huge plumes of smoke over Schellville area, bordering Napa and Sonoma Counties.

No structures were threatened and no evacuations were needed- the terrain was grassy hills and low brush.

But multiple fire agencies converged on the scene, to keep the fire small.

"Having these big giant planes fly right over you and drop the retardant, it gave me a little extra perspective," said Forsyth, who watched the firefighting air show along with a handful of tasting room visitors.

"But we did have a tour bus come and decide they didn't want to stay," smiled Mike Stone, tasting room manager at Nicholson Ranch Winery.

"I told them they were totally fine, the fire is on the other side of the hill but then they saw the plane drop the retardant right on that hill."

Trees above the winery remain scorched from devastating wildfires that swept through in 2017.

The original home on the property was destroyed and is rebuilt on the same spot.

Stone tries to remain philosophical.

"Welcome to California, welcome to sunny, smoky, fiery California!"

Along Fremont Drive where the fire started, CalFire investigators examined an area of origin and spoke to construction workers whohad been working near the slope.  

When the fire started, they apparently used their heavy equipment to try to smother burning patches of vegetation. 

CalFire was mum about possible causes, saying the fire is under investigation.