TALENT, Ore. — A simple act of kindness can make all the difference in the world. For the owners of Simple Machine winery in Talent, it's been the simple acts of kindness that have kept them going after the Almeda Fire.
"I would like to present you with a check for $5,000 to help you in getting back to work from the Almeda Fire," said Michelle Corradetti, past president of the United Rotary Clubs of Southern Oregon, handing over a check to Simple Machine for the final Back to Work grant of a fundraising effort that gathered $400,000.
When the ash settled after the Almeda Fire, Simple Machine was in ruins. Brian Denner and Clea Arthur, co-owners of the Talent winery, had lost everything — down to the final bottle of wine.
"It's really great to be part of the community's recovery, because this has affected so many people," said Arthur.
Since September of 2020, Arthur and Denner have managed to rebuild their winery and tasting room in Talent. With the support of their community, they were even able to bottle some wines while they worked to put the pieces back in place. The grant they received Thursday will help to put a bow on that effort.
"That's why I'm proud to be a Rotarian. And we have so many amazing Rotarians here in the valley," said Corradetti. "Service feeds our souls, and we just want to help make our communities a better place."
The owners of the winery told NewsWatch 12 on Thursday that they will use that act of kindness to help put up signs in the area, to let people know that they're back.
The winery has been opened back up to the public for a little over a month now, and they're starting to see business returned to the area — but were it not for the acts of kindness that they received several months ago from the community and other wineries, and their business was left devastated, they may not have gotten to this point.
"After the fire we actually got calls from Herb Quady, Brian Gruber and Nichole Schulte over at Barrel 42, saying 'we have a place for you, you can come make your wine here for free with us,'" said Denner. "And they really made it happen for us. Otherwise, I don't know what I would have done."
Those simple acts of kindness are still making all the difference in the world, bringing back a local business that was once a pile of ash.