Big Rick Stuart
Wine Tourism Roars Back in Napa and Sonoma
“We are seeing a strong return to travel,” says Todd O’Leary, vice president of marketing and communications for Sonoma County Tourism. “There’s been a huge pent-up demand for it, and now that consumers are getting vaccinated, they are booking travel now and/or into the future.
“We’re definitely seeing our fans spending time here, but we’re also welcoming new first-time visitors, as wine country is oftentimes a bucket list destination,” he says.
“Anecdotally, we’re also hearing that wineries and restaurants in Napa Valley are booked to capacity on most weekends,” says Linsey Gallagher, president and CEO, Visit Napa Valley.
“Many of our wineries, restaurants and hotels are dealing with labor shortages,” says O’Leary. “So, while consumer demand is strong, capacities have been and will continue to be constricted. We’re advising visitors to plan ahead by making reservations well in advance. Most wineries are already appointment-only nowadays.”