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Napa Valley’s Tourism Comeback Has a Fresh New Look; Many Changes Are Inspired by Lessons from the Pandemic

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Napa Valley, August 2, 2021—As Napa Valley’s tourism partners are quickly ramping up now that most pandemic restrictions have been lifted, the lessons learned from pivoting, innovating and evolving due to the pandemic have resulted in lasting changes, new offerings and new ways to experience the riches of Napa Valley.

“The Napa Valley spirit is strong, and our tourism community has always been optimistic, resilient and innovative,” said Linsey Gallagher, president & CEO of Visit Napa Valley. “We’re seeing Napa Valley wineries, restaurants, hotels and tour operators permanently adapt their guest experiences in very mindful ways. The new visitor experience is more personalized and intimate, emphasizing quality over quantity, while continuing with online and virtual programs as well.”

For example, Cakebread Cellars has emerged from the past year with a new Visitor Center, eight private tasting rooms and a Garden-to-Glass farm-to-table offering that is intimate, educational and highly personal. Like many wineries in Napa Valley, Cakebread is resuming in-person events, but also continues to connect with consumers around the world through popular virtual cooking and tasting experiences.

“The composition of our business and what drove it has changed, and in some ways for the better,” said Jocelyn Hoar, director of hospitality. “We are excited to be ramping up our in-person experiences, but also remain focused on how we bring Cakebread hospitality into people’s homes in a virtual setting.”

Innovation continues to drive the team at Chandon as wellwhich is launching a new label for its popular sparkling wines, releasing new vintages and debuting a new product called Chandon Garden Spritz. Visitors can experience these offerings through a new online reservation system, which allows its winemakers and educators to present a more personalized tasting experience and spend more time with each guest. Virtual tasting options continue to be an option for sparkling wine enthusiasts outside of Napa as well.

“The trend is for people to slow down and really connect with a tasting experience instead of rushing from one winery to the next,” says Inga Winkler, director of brand home experiences at Chandon. “Our online reservation system makes planning easy and allows us to provide more elevated tasting experiences such as picnics on the lawn or in our outdoor cabanas.”

Personal service, spending time outdoors and encouraging eco-friendly exploration is also a focus for Napa’s Fat Tire Bike Rentals. Family owned and operated; the company was born out of demand for bike riding during the pandemic. The company delivers bikes right to its customers’ front doors at no additional charge—whether a Napa County resident or a visitor staying in a hotel. 

River Terrace Inn’s new standard for operations includes customized services based on each guest’s needs and comfort, fewer shared-use items and increased visibility of cleaning in common areas, which is no longer restricted to off hours. The property also continues to reinforce the importance of travel to both those who live and visit the Napa Valley.

“One of the most important lessons I hope we can keep is the appreciation of hospitality workers as ‘essential,’” said Will Farrow, general manager of the inn. “Travel and vacations are essential to happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives. The people who make that possible should continue to receive the gratitude and esteem equal to the need for their efforts.”

For more information on Visit Napa Valley visit www.visitnapavalley.com.

About Visit Napa Valley

Visit Napa Valley is the official destination management organization for Napa County with a mission to promote, protect and enhance the region’s position as an attractive travel destination and enhance its public image as a dynamic place to visit, live and work. The Napa Valley, conveniently located just an hour from the San Francisco Bay Area, consists of distinctive towns, from north to south, Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford/Oakville, Yountville, the city of Napa, American Canyon, and the outdoor recreation area of Lake Berryessa.   

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