'Busiest in two years:' Napa Valley sees record numbers of visitors for Memorial Day Weekend

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- Many of us were taking a big step this Memorial Day weekend - stepping out, hitting the road and having some fun after a difficult year.

The Napa Valley was a big destination. In fact, some wineries report record breaking sales.

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"This is the first time we've been out," said Loralie Yumang.

Loralie Yumang and Mike Jefferson from Concord were exploring Yountville and finding lots of others had the same idea. Some shops and restaurants had wait times, with long lines down the street.

"I think we're coming back, on a trajectory and coming back to our old way of life," said Mike Jefferson.

V. Sattui Winery president Tom Davies was feeling tired after the holiday weekend brought crowds he never expected.

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"This is the busiest we've been in two years, flat out. People excited to be here because they've been cooped up for a year."

This winery was hosting its first wedding ceremony of the season.

"I'm excited to marry the woman of my dreams, I want to celebrate tonight. In my view, it's a bridge towards normalcy," said groom Sayed Madaeni.

Hotels like El Bonita in St. Helena were closed last Memorial Day weekend due to the pandemic. This year, it's a much different picture.

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"We are still wearing masks and taking precautions, we were sold out three days of the weekend," said hotel general manager Pierrette Therene.

All 48 rooms haven't been sold out in more than a year.

"We're enjoying wine country again. We haven't been back in a while... You guys were shut down," said Zach Johnson from Wichita, Kansas.

St. Helena Mayor Geoff Ellsworth isn't celebrating just yet. He knows bringing the local economy back to pre-pandemic levels will take time.

"Optimism and flow are returning, but a few good weeks is not enough. There's been significant damage done and it's going to take a while to work back," Ellsworth said.
But new visitors are a hopeful sign.

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