California Tourism Group Launches $2 Million Campaign For Fire-Ravaged Wine Country

Visit California, a nonprofit affiliated with the state's Office of Tourism, has launched a $2 million campaign to bring consumers back to Sonoma, Napa, Santa Rosa, and other fire-ravaged areas of wine country. The ads are attempting to counteract the damage done to wine country's image and assure travelers and wine lovers alike that Northern California wine country is still a great vacation and winery destination.

Although 13 wineries were damaged in the blaze that took 43 lives and caused more than $3 billion in insured damage, much of the naturally stunning area was spared, and most businesses were able to reopen their doors within a couple of weeks. Many Northern Californians urged consumers and visitors to buy Sonoma and Napa wines and to stay in the hotels and book tours of vineyards.

But according to Caroline Beteta, president and chief executive officer for Visit California, so far these efforts have been to no avail. "Just the imagery alone, I would argue, did more damage than the actual damage to the tourism infrastructure," she reportedly said to the audience at the Wine Marketing and Tourism Conference in Santa Rosa.

"The difference now is we do have the bandwidth and the resources to deal with the media correction. We were definitely a little more aggressive with this campaign to correct the reality versus the images."

With the beefy new budget, Visit California hopes to get the word across about how viable vineyards and other businesses in wine country still are. However, if you need some persuading, check out these stunning snapshots of California wine country, here.