‘Wine Soul Train' Offers Tours of Black- and Latino-Owned Vineyards and Wineries Following #LaughingWhileBlack Backlash

Social media erupted last month after 11 women in a reading club were kicked off a Bay Area train excursion

After 11 members of a mostly African-American book club had their ride aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train abruptly cut short last month, inspiring the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack, a Bay Area nonprofit is responding by offering its own tour of black- and Latino-owned vineyards and wineries.

The "Wine Soul Train" – actually a bus – will depart from Oakland on Sept. 26 and take tour-goers around Napa and Sonoma valleys to check out the scene.

The Oakland Food Policy Council is operating the excursion, which costs $100 per seat.

"In light of recent news of the book club, Sistahs on the Reading Edge, being criminalized and removed from the Napa Valley Wine Train, OFPC would like to extend a thanks to the vineyards in the region who have created welcoming spaces to gather, celebrate and organize," the council posted on its website.

Napa Valley Wine Train executives said they "were about 100 percent in the wrong" after 11 women got the boot for allegedly making too much noise.

Organizer Esperanza Pallana said she wanted to send a message to the Napa Valley Wine Train anyway. “We want the wine train to understand that is unacceptable. It will not be tolerated. It's unacceptable,” she said.

In addition to wine tasting, the Wine Soul Train tour promises riders a chance to "learn about agricultural practices, labor issues and economic leadership."

"We will have the opportunity to taste and purchase wines, as well as meet business leaders in the wine country who are paving the way for black and brown ownership of vineyards and wineries."

Lisa Renee Johnson shot video of members of her book club being escorted off the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Pallana said those on board will be encouraged to laugh loudly.

“We're going to have a great time,” she said. “It's going to be a day of laughter and celebration.”

Contact Us