SONOMA COUNTY (KRON) — A ripple effect on tourism from the Kincade Fire is having damaging impacts on businesses that were not physically damaged in the wildfire.
Though the flames were isolated to Northern Sonoma County, neighboring Napa Valley wineries are feeling the pinch.
It’s more than just a business, Castello di Amorosa is a labor of love and the realization of owner Dario Sattui’s lifelong passion for the arts.
“I mean look around — it’s beautiful. There’s no smoke,” Sattui said.
He built the vintage medieval castle near Calistoga 12 years ago and quickly became an iconic staple in the Napa Valley.
“It’s a great time of the year to come. It’s not too hot. It’s not too crowded — you get a lot of personal attention,” he said.
But consecutive years of deadly and destructive wildfires in the Wine Country are leading to a drop in tourism all over and the castle is no different.
“And, not just us. All the wineries, beauty parlors, hotels, restaurants — everybody’s hurting,” he said.
Sattui says even though neither his property or vineyards sustained damage, business initially dropped 50-percent after the Camp Fire in 2017 and in the first few weeks following the kincade fire — the same thing.
“We have a house in Calistoga for our wine club members. We’ve had three cancellations, and they’re weeks out, because people are afraid. I guess they think the Napa Valley’s on fire still,” Sattui said.
He’s banking on tourists like these two friends from Texas, who are refraining from lumping the scorched areas in northern Sonoma County hit worst by the recent fires with all of the Wine Country.
“Not put off by the fires at all — we called ahead of time. Great communication,” said visitor Ashley Bourgeois
Business is open, ready to welcome visitors with open arms.
“We need to come and we need to enjoy it and we need to support them and buy things and buy wine, and this is what they do and they need support,” another visitor, Sharon Driscoll, said.