NAPA VALLEY (KPIX 5) — Napa Valley mayors are hoping you won’t wait too long before going back to visit wine country.
Just because the fires are out in Napa does not mean things are back to normal, but a group of local elected officials invited the media to ride the Napa Valley Wine Train to show the world that wine country is still beautiful and open for business.
Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning said, “Now they’re dealing with the economic impact of this fire…of not being able to work because people aren’t coming back to visit us. They’re a little nervous about what they might find.”
Guests dined on gourmet lunches as they rumbled past autumn vineyards with a clear blue sky overhead.
State Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa County) said, “This valley is still wonderful, it’s beautiful. This time of year is the best time to come to Wine Train.”
Normally these trains are booked solid at this time of year, but they say all the cancellations actually present an unusual opportunity for those who act fast.
Napa Mayor Jill Techel said, “You’re going to be able to get into restaurants you normally can’t get into. You’re going to be able to, on a Saturday, drive up here and go to a tasting room. This is October, our busiest time of year … but it’s not right now.”
They’re hoping that the slowdown won’t last long, that the crowds will return.
And in an area where prosperity depends on tourism, they say no one will be offended by those coming up to party.
Christina Stewart, a tourist from Florida said, “Definitely there’s a little bit of guilt; that you feel bad that you’re here enjoying when so many people are suffering. But as we were told, the best thing you could do is come and spend money and bring the life and fun back to Napa.”