Businesses in California's wine capital on Monday mopped up thousands of dollars in high-end vintages, swept glass from ghostly downtown streets ordinarily bustling with tourists and rushed to reopen in advance of the summer's last holiday weekend, following a severe 6.0 earthquake that damaged wineries, historic buildings and hotels. Tourism officials assessing its economic and structural impact encouraged visitors to keep flocking to the charming towns, tasting rooms, restaurants and spas that drive the Napa Valley economy.
"Clearly, we are concerned that people are going to see that it was a catastrophe, and it certainly wasn't good, but it wasn't a catastrophe by any means," Clay Gregory, president of tourism organization Visit Napa Valley, said as workers at a shuttered downtown visitor's center updated lists of open wineries and surveyed hotels about cancellations. "The real story is that it has impacted a very small part of the valley." Local officials have an early working estimate that Napa Valley suffered $1 billion in property damage, but they hope the long-term economic impact of the quake to businesses will be modest, Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd said. If people "think Napa is devastated, it's anything but devastated. We're only 24 hours out from an earthquake, and we're on our way back," Dodd said.