California wine train orders off black women’s book club

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Members of a mostly black book club say they believe they were kicked off a Napa Valley wine train because of their race.

The 11 women say they were ordered off the wine train Saturday. Book club member Lisa Renee Johnson says employees told the women they were laughing and talking too loudly.

Police in the Napa Valley town of St. Helena confirmed Monday that wine train workers summoned officers. Police spokeswoman Maria Gonzalez says the women committed no crime. Gonzalez says it’s the first time she recalls the wine train calling police to remove a large group.

Johnson and supporters are posting on social media under the hashtag #laughingwhileblack.

The Napa Valley Wine Train issued this apology:

Apology Statement from Napa Valley Wine Train

The Napa Valley Wine Train reached out over the weekend–and today is again reaching out to the book club members who were asked to leave the Napa Valley Wine Train.   We want to apologize to them for their experience and listen to their concerns and complaints.


On Saturday, Aug. 22 at approximately 1 p.m., 11 guests were asked to leave the train for being noisy and disrupting the experience of other passengers.

The incident began when train staff received complaints from several parties in the same train car as the 11 people.  Staff made three attempts to request the 11 guests reduce their noise level.  After the third attempt, it was  requested by staff they leave the train.  The train company provided free transportation back to the station in Napa, and fully refunded their trip costs.

The Napa Valley Wine Train’s standard policy is to remove guests who are disruptive. Staff does not enjoy asking guests to depart early, but they take these issues seriously to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all of our guests. Unfortunately, staff has to remove guests from our train about once a month.

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