Our heroes decide to kill some time before the Festival of the Blazing Sun and leave Vallaki for the Wizard of Wines winery. Urwin Martikov mentioned that he has not received his latest shipment from the winery and his barrels at the Blue Water Inn are running dry. Braap and Runga stays behind to keep an eye on Ireena and Ismark while the rest mount up and head east. The travel is uneventful as they go through the woods along the Old Svalich road. As they pass Lake Baratok, they see a partial wrecked tower on an island and decide to put it on the to do list for later exploration. Eventually the find the dirt road turn off to the south that takes them toward the winery.
The weather turns more foul and upon crossing into the winery lands proper, they see a couple people flagging them down from the tree line. The heroes approached cautiously to parley and learned that the men represent the family owners of the winery, lead by the patriarch Darin Martikov. He tells the group that a barbaric clan of druid wild men and their strange plant creature allies have assaulted the winery, taking it over. His family tried to fight them off but there are too many of them. He asks the heroes to help them clear out the invaders.
Fizban’s heroes quickly go to work combating the druids and there twig fiends. They fight their way into the winery proper, where Jal throws oil on the threshold and out of nowhere Holaf’s eyes blaze with a eerie flame and he throws a fireball into a mass of blights. The group then secures the door and begin a battle of room to room fights, putting down mad druids and twig light entities. In the basement Jal and Klept scout forward only to be surprised by the leader druid, who blasts Jal with a thunder-wave showering him in shattered glass and concussive energy. The leader druid is quickly smote by our paladin and Gromthar recovers the druids strange dark wood staff.
Within an hour the winery is freed and our heroes setup an ambush for the remaining druids outside. Gromthar, wreathed in defensive magics, holds one door against several entangling blights while the rest of the party flanks the druids, quickly putting them down through sword, magic and arrow. Post battle the group brings in the Martikov family and Darin thanks them for the assistance. He informs them that they produce the wine for free, for the good of all the oppressed of Barovia, but that is only possible with the help of some special gems that magically enrich the lands. Each gem is the size of a large pinecone and glows with a warm green light. Originally there were 3 gems but one was lost many years before. Another was taken by the minions of the witch who lives in the ruins of Berez to the east. The druids’ blights stole the last gem taking it to Yester Hill, their place of worship. Without the gems, the remaining vines will wither and die.
As thanks for freeing the winery, Darin agrees to send the last few barrels of wine in the cellar to Urwin in Vallaki. His sons with leave the next morning. Fizban’s Heroes tells them to wait as they will first go to Yester Hill to recover one of the gems and then return to protect the shipment. After a shared meal with the Martikov family and a solid nights sleep, the group heads out early towards Yester Hill.