Fundraisers for Gilroy shooting victims

Wineries witnessed Garlic Festival tragedy

Many are scarred and still shaken by the trauma of being caught up in the horror of the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in July. It’s hard to even say the word “Gilroy” without thinking of the tragedy. We pause to remember those lost, and their families and friends whose lives are forever altered by senseless hatred and violence.

Jason Goelz (Jason Stephens), his wife Janu (Alara) and their staff had just finished pouring at the Gilroy Rotary Wine Tent, and intended to enjoy some ribs and music, when the gunfire started.

“We were in the vicinity of the shooter as it happened, witnessing the Gilroy Police Department’s amazing response,” Goelz said. “One horrific, senseless act performed by one individual brought out the best in everyone else around.”

In the confusion, he and Janu got separated and a complete stranger told her she should get in the car and she would get home safely, which she did. Jason, on the other hand, was caught up in the lockdown, during which his cellphone battery died. He eventually made it home late that evening. 

“You never think it would happen in your backyard until it does,” he said.

If you wish to help the victims, donate directly to the Gilroy Foundation at

Aver Family Vineyards will also donate $3 for each bottle sold to the Gilroy Foundation through the end of August.

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About Laura Ness
Laura Ness is an accomplished freelance writer offering travel tips and commentary on the California wine industry.