Northern California wine country wine tourism recovering after forest fires

Published on : Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Northern CaliforniaThe images of forest fires in California are still fresh in the minds of travelers, and this is making some guests at the fabled Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, in Forestville, Calif., to reconsider or postpone their upcoming trips.

“They’re either worried that the Inn was burned down, or realize we weren’t damaged but are concerned they might be uncomfortable coming here while so many of the locals are still recovering from the fires,” said Farmhouse Inn owner Joe Bartolomei.

“After we show them how much of our wine and wine tourism infrastructure wasn’t damaged, we tell them, ‘The best thing you can do right now is come and spend money here,’” Bartolomei said. Of the 700 wineries in the region, only six were damaged or destroyed, he added.

More than 90 percent of Sonoma County’s one million acres were unaffected by the North Bay fires.

The Campana Ranch Winery was completely untouched, as were the overwhelming majority of wineries in the region and most structures west of Highway 101. The Lynmar Estate, in Sebastopol, Calif., was also completely untouched.

The local tourism organizations have tried to be sensitive to the ongoing human impact of the fires, focusing more on relief and recovery efforts. But as the fires get under control more each day, marketing and other efforts to change misperceptions are surfacing.


Meanwhile, east in Napa County, the wildfires mostly affected the eastern and western hills surrounding the valley floor, but damage to the region’s tourism industry was worse.
Of the 330 wineries who are members of the Napa Valley Vintners organization, 47 sustained direct damage and a few of them experienced significant property loss.


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