Looks like social media has wielded it’s power yet again. After news spread quickly that a group of women were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train for allegedly “laughing while Black,” the business now says it was “100 percent wrong.”
In a newly released statement, CEO Anthony Giaccio says his management teamed handled the incident poorly.
“The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue,” he said. “We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.”
Giaccio also penned an apology letter to the women who were kicked off the train.
I want to apologize for your experience on the Napa Valley Wine Train on Saturday, Aug. 22. We accept full responsibility for our failures and the entire chain of unfortunate events you experienced.
Clearly, we knew in advance when we booked your party that you would be loud, fun-loving and boisterous—because you told us during the booking process that you wanted a place where your Club could enjoy each other’s company. Somehow that vital information never made it to the appropriate channels and we failed to seat your group where you could enjoy yourself properly and alert our train’s staff that they should expect a particularly vibrant group.
We were insensitive when we asked you to depart our train by marching you down the aisle past all the other passengers. While that was the safest route for disembarking, it showed a lack of sensitivity on our part that I did not fully conceive of until you explained the humiliation of the experience and how it impacted you and your fellow Book Club members.
We also erred by placing an inaccurate post on our Facebook site that was not reflective of what actually occurred. In the haste to respond to criticism and news inquires, we made a bad situation worse by rushing to answer questions on social media. We quickly removed the inaccurate post, but the harm was done by our erroneous post.
In summary, we were acutely insensitive to you and the members of the Book Club. Please accept my apologies for our many mistakes and failures. We pride ourselves on our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train. In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect and hospitality.
I appreciate your recommendation that our staff, which I believe to be among the best, could use additional cultural diversity and sensitivity training. I pledge to make sure that occurs and I plan to participate myself.
As I offered in my conversation with you today, please accept my personal apologies for your experience and the experience of the Book Club members. I would like to invite you and other members to return plus 39 other guests (you can fill an entire car of 50) as my personal guests in a reserved car where you can enjoy yourselves as loudly as you desire.
I want to conclude again by offering my apologies for your terrible experience.
Despite Giaccio’s apology and his offer to allow the women to return with 39 friends (a total of 50 people), Lisa Johnson said her book club won’t be boarding the wine train ever again.
“What we really wanted is for something like this not to happen in the first place,” she said on MSNBC. “I will never forget my first and last experience on the Napa Valley Wine Train.”