Napa and Sonoma counties are California’s premier wine regions. Both communities have survived through years of destruction caused by fires and now COVID-19. Patiently, like us all, they await the restrictions and travel bans to be lifted so they can open for business.
Travelers were curious about the feasibility of visiting these communities due to past fires and how COVID-19 social distancing restrictions translate to doing tastings. The wineries that were not physically impacted by the fires were open for business, only closing on days where the air quality and ash made it prohibitive.
The latest October 2020 fires damaged at least 17 Napa wineries, a significantly higher figure than in 2017 when the Glass Fire affected 6 Napa wine estates. More than 200 Napa and Sonoma wineries remained under mandatory evacuation warnings, exposing some of California’s most well-known wine producers to potential disaster. The Glass Fire’s long-term consequences for the valley – in addition to the setback in tourism - have yet to be determined. But already, it became evident that the fires had severely impacted the quantity and the quality of many wine Napa productions.
On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic led to Health authorities to close any availability for wine tastings until early summer of 2020. Once the restrictions were lifted, both counties and the region were ready to host local travelers and customers, enforcing the use of masks and ensuring social distancing between different household parties.
As with all businesses, mandatory safety protocols made social distancing and tasting wine available. Indoor tastings were allowed for a few weeks but quickly evolved to outdoor tastings only, where demand far exceeded the availability.
The New Year is still young, and the quarantined lifestyle is still our day-to-day, but soon there will be opportunities to visit and support local communities and businesses.
We encourage you to check out our premium winery list recommendations that will help you to prepare your Napa & Sonoma getaway once restrictions are lifted so you can support our local community of small businesses.
Want to relax and have all tastings booked in advance? Join us on a fun and relaxing Napa & Sonoma Wine Deluxe Tour on one of our luxury coaches. During a full-day tour from San Francisco, you will visit renowned Napa Valley and Sonoma Wineries for tasting, learn about winemaking techniques, and shop for wines and souvenirs in a local shop.
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