Wine country is struggling to attract visitors. Fires and blackouts aren’t helping

Before it burned to the ground during the 2017 wildfires, the tasting room and headquarters for the Signorello Estate winery in Napa was an ivy-covered, two-story edifice on a hillside, overlooking an expanse of oak trees and vineyards.

Although a new tasting room and adjacent business offices have yet to be built, the winery has continued to grow grapes, make wine in an off-site facility and host wine tastings under nearby tents and in a mobile facility.

“The silver lining is we lost some buildings but we didn’t lose any vines,” said Ray Signorello Jr., proprietor of Signorello Estate. “The grapes and winemaking has been largely uninterrupted.”

But like many of his fellow winemakers, shopkeepers and restaurateurs who survived the 2017 wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties, Signorello struggles to get the word out that one of the world’s premier winemaking regions remains open for business and eager to host visitors.

That effort has been hampered lately by a wildfire that broke out in northern Sonoma County last week and by the decision by Pacific Gas & Electric to shut off power in the region intermittently during high-wind days to help prevent another fire disaster.

The stakes are high.

In both Napa and Sonoma counties, tourism ranks among the top industries, with more than 40,000 combined jobs directly dependent on visitors. Spending by tourists generated more than $4 billion to the economies of the two counties last year, with most of the money spent on lodging.

In Napa County, tourism ranks second only to the wine industry as a top employer…..[Read More]

Roger Chiocchi

A life-long advertising and marketing professional, Roger is VP-Marketing at Signature Brand Factory. Prior to that he spent 20+ years on Madison Ave as a Sr. VP at Young & Rubicam and President of Y&R subsidiary, The Lord Group.



Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday 9:00am — 5:00pm