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Tour bus company says wine country business down following earthquake

One tour bus company that takes people to Napa's wine country says business is down following the earthquake, but drivers are assuring people the vineyards and tasting rooms are safe and not to be missed.
Friday, August 29, 2014
One tour bus company that takes people to Napa's wine country says business is down following the earthquake, but drivers are assuring people the vineyards and tasting rooms are safe and not to be missed.

ABC7 News spoke with tourists who are boldly boarding buses heading to the wine country and say they have nothing to be afraid of. One man from Wisconsin said he's going in part to help Napa's economy.

Gray Line Tours driver Kenneth Green cheerfully greeted his passengers at Fisherman's Wharf Friday. They're Napa-bound and Green says, thirsty. "The average person that comes, they want to drink California wine."

"I mean if I hadn't been planning to come, I would want to choose to come now," Benette Harris said.

He booked his Napa tour after the earthquake for a bigger reason than just wine tasting. "I was in New York shortly after 911 and I remember from that experience that people in New York were very excited to have people still come and still have confidence in the commerce there," Harris said.

Drivers with Wine Country Shuttle Tour say Labor Day is usually a big weekend for them. It's the last hoorah of summer, but they say business is down because of the earthquake. "About 10-percent of people that are contacting us say they're a little uncertain if Napa's OK to go out there and if it's safe to be in Napa," Wine Country Tour Shuttle spokesperson Cary Crites said.

Drivers who have been there every day since the earthquake say yes and at most wineries, the mess is cleaned up and you'd almost never know anything had happened. "The only thing I actually noticed was a bump in the highway as we actually passed the earthquake fault," Wine Country Tour Shuttle employee Ken Reuther said.

It was just a bump in the road, but nothing for these tourists from New Zealand. "We're used to it. We had a 6.1 a couple of months ago. So it's OK, it happens," Pierre Hartzenberg said.

Tour bus drivers told ABC7 News it's harvest time and a nice time to see the vineyards.

For a full list of events happening Friday through Sunday, go to winecountry.com.

Napa City Nights is a free concert that will be held at the Veterans Memorial Park Amphitheater on Main Street in downtown Napa.
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