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California Wine Country Welcomes Tourists

Vineyard, Hills, Smoky Sunset, California Wildfires, California Wine Country Welcomes Tourists

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Despite recent wildfire damage, many wineries are open.

October wildfires in northern California disrupted tourism in Napa and Sonoma wine country at peak time for tourists, but the counties' attractions and most wineries remain open and welcome visitors. 

With 42 people dead and more than 245,000 acres destroyed since Oct. 8 when they began, the fires — some still burning Tuesday — were the deadliest in the state's history. But tourism officials say hundreds of wineries, restaurants and hotels in the Napa and Sonoma valleys have remained open, or are reopening for business this week.

"Only a small number of wineries in the Napa Valley experienced excessive damage due to the fires, and the majority of wineries have been open and hosting guests just days after the fires started,” said Angela Jackson, communications director for Visit Napa Valley.

While Napa County has more than 400 wineries, only four remained closed Tuesday: William Hill Estate, Signorello estate, Hess Collection's pop-up winery at Copia, and Brown Estate, which reopens on Nov. 2, according to Jackson. Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, north of Calistoga, is closed, as is the Petrified Forest, also in Calistoga.  The latter is expected to open Nov. 1. Thomas Keller's famous Michelin three-star restaurant, the French Laundry, reopened on Oct. 18.

In Sonoma County, more than 90 percent of businesses are open, including the noted Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and the Healdsburg Inn, both of which reopened last week. The county's Wine Road, which has 165 wineries, is also open, and the popular Wine & Food Affair, a two-day event of tasting and meeting winemakers in Sonoma, is scheduled to go on the weekend of Nov. 4-5.

The full list of open businesses in Napa and Sonoma is available on each county's respective website. Travelers should check online and call ahead to confirm a reservation before heading out to wine country.

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