Tag: Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train CEO Anthony Giaccio Apologizes to Women Escorted Away For #LaughingWhileBlack

Women from Book Club who were escorted off Napa Valley Wine Train for laughing (Photo via media.nbcbayarea.com)
Women from Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club who were escorted off Napa Valley Wine Train (Photo via media.nbcbayarea.com)

Remember that group of women whose story went viral a few days ago because they were kicked off of a Napa Valley Train wine tour for laughing? They’re now getting the apology they deserve from the train’s CEO, Anthony “Tony” Giaccio.

The full statement Giaccio wrote to the members of the Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club reads as follows:

The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue. We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.

Clearly, we knew in advance when we booked your party that you would be loud, fun-loving and boisterous—because you told us during the booking process that you wanted a place where your Club could enjoy each other’s company. Somehow that vital information never made it to the appropriate channels and we failed to seat your group where you could enjoy yourself properly and alert our train’s staff that they should expect a particularly vibrant group.

We were insensitive when we asked you to depart our train by marching you down the aisle past all the other passengers. While that was the safest route for disembarking, it showed a lack of sensitivity on our part that I did not fully conceive of until you explained the humiliation of the experience and how it impacted you and your fellow Book Club members.

We also erred by placing an inaccurate post on our Facebook site that was not reflective of what actually occurred. In the haste to respond to criticism and news inquires, we made a bad situation worse by rushing to answer questions on social media. We quickly removed the inaccurate post, but the harm was done by our erroneous post.

In summary, we were acutely insensitive to you and the members of the Book Club. Please accept my apologies for our many mistakes and failures. We pride ourselves on our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train. In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect and hospitality.

I appreciate your recommendation that our staff, which I believe to be among the best, could use additional cultural diversity and sensitivity training. I pledge to make sure that occurs and I plan to participate myself.

As I offered in my conversation with you today, please accept my personal apologies for your experience and the experience of the Book Club members. I would like to invite you and other members to return plus 39 other guests (you can fill an entire car of 50) as my personal guests in a reserved car where you can enjoy yourselves as loudly as you desire.

I want to conclude again by offering my apologies for your terrible experience.

The story caught attention online when Lisa Johnson, a book club member that was one of the women escorted off of the train on Saturday, shared videos and social media posts documenting the incident. Johnson and her friends in the club were highly embarrassed by the incident. Not only were they escorted off by being forced to walk through six train cars, but they were also greeted by police once they got onto the platform.

Despite this apology, Lisa Johnson told MSNBC‘s Thomas Roberts that she will not patronize the Napa Valley Wine Train again.

“No, we don’t accept the apology… In the course of my conversation with Anthony, he was apologizing. And during the course of that apology he said to me, ‘You know it’s really troubling for us that we’re being painted in the media to be something that we are not. And I had to take that in a moment because I said, ‘That’s exactly what you did to us.’ was paint a picture of us in the media of something that we are not…I will never forget my first and last experience on the Napa Wine Train.”

You can watch Johnson’s full interview in the video by clicking here.

original article by Monique John via hellobeautiful.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

5 Black-Owned California Wineries to Visit Instead of the Wine Train


Over the weekend, 11 women—10 Black, one white—were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train after a customer complained the book club members were too loud. According to one of the women involved, the ladies were paraded through the train into the care of four waiting cops, causing the group to feel humiliated.

Despite the Napa Valley Wine Train debacle, Black people love vino, too. What many don’t know, however, is we also produce it.  From the vineyards in South Africa, to those across the U.S., Black owned wineries are waiting for you to visit.  So here are five Black-owned California Wineries to give your hard-earned money to instead of the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Rideau Vineyard

Iris Rideau

Founded in 1997 by Iris Rideau, Rideau Vineyard boasts 16 acres of land which it uses to produce its award-winning Pinot Noir. Located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara, Rideau Vineyard’s tasting room is open to the public.

Shop online or schedule a visit on the Rideau Vineyard website. 

Brown Estate


Founded 35 years ago on a “ghost estate” in Napa Valley, Brown Estate began by selling grapes to other wineries. In 1995, the family run business began producing its own label. Next year, the vineyard will roll out its 20th vintage of Brown Estate zinfandel, that can be tasted right on site at its beautiful winery.

Bonus? The owners of Brown Estate have already reached out to the women booted from the Wine Train to set up a private visit to their gorgeous property.

Shop online or schedule a visit on Brown Estate’s website.

Esterlina Vineyards


Owned and operated by the Sterling Brothers, Esterlina Vineyards specializes in handcrafted wines in three different varieties. Esterlina also owns the only vineyard in the Cole Ranch Appellation, which is America’s smallest American Viticultural Area.

Shop online or schedule a visit on the Esterlina Vineyards website.

L’objet noir


Owned by Dan Glover, L’objet noir translates to “the black object.” Glover describes his award-winning Pinot Noir like this: “This wine represents the complete absorption of all that is light in my world… my love of food, wine, family and friends, my experiences in the vineyards and cellars, my fascination with the Pinot Noir grapes that grow and thrive in the Russian River Valley… and the transformation of these energies into the inky dark loveliness that is my wine.”

Shop online at the L’objet noir website

Everett Ridge Winery


Owned and operated by the Sterling Brothers (who also own Esterlina Vineyards), Everett Ridge Winery is the second oldest winery in Dry Creek Valley, dating back to 1878. The winery specializes in Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay varieties of wine, and the tasting room is open daily.

Shop online or schedule a visit at the Everett Ridge Winery website.

Want to know about even more Black-owned wineries? Check out this list by Tuanni Price, owner of Zuri Wine Tasting.  

article via clutchmagonline.com