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Saturday afternoon, author Lisa Renee Johnson had expected to have the time of her life on the Napa Valley Wine Train-an event she and her book crew  had been planing since last November.

Johnson chronicled the day by posting images to her Facebook page from the train with her book club, including 10 African American women and one white woman.


However, things took a sour turn as they were riding towards St. Helena, when the maître d’hotel confronted them about ‘being too loud’ and threatened them off the train. In an article on the Napa Valley Register, Johnson said the maître d’hotel made the decision because ‘people’s faces looked uncomfortable”

“She said people were complaining and I said, ‘Who’s complaining?’ And she said, ‘Well, people’s faces are uncomfortable,’” said Johnson. “At that point, one passenger nearby said, ‘Well, this is not a bar.’ We reacted, ‘Yes, it is a bar, a bar on wheels.'”


The women were ultimately kicked off, but not before being escorted through 6 train cars to where they were met by officers, including one 80 year old woman and another woman who used a cane due to hip replacement surgery.

We were paraded; 10 African-American women and one white woman, being paraded through the cars with four police officers outside.”via North Valley Register

The women received a full refund of their trip, although it’s unlikely that they will use it after the humiliation and poor treatment they received on their first ride. The crew are still weighing out whether or not they will go forward with a lawsuit or a civil rights complaint.

The police left within minutes of the women getting off the train, and they were given a bus shuttle back to Napa. Shortly after the incident, the Napa Velley Wine Train posted their side of the story to social media which they later deleted–there were no accounts of any physical abuse towards any staff or guests.


Social media quickly caught onto the story, which hasn’t been good for the company’s Yelp reviews:

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The women didn’t let the day ruin them. In spite of the humiliation, they bounced back, enjoying each other’s company in wine country-an annual event they’ve done the past 17 years.

Originally from the Bay, I was uprooted from my eclectic surroundings and forced to spend my formative years in conservative San Joaquin County (Stockton) after Loma Prieta. Earthquake central couldn't deter me, and in 2010, I relocated to San Francisco. After a year of not being rich or knowing how to code, I moved to Oakland, where my momma and my momma's momma were born. Oakland has changed A LOT from when I was growing up, and I love getting reacquainted with my roots. Like our city's logo, Oakland grounds me, it's where I've rediscovered myself and unleashed my creativity. If I were a tattoo, I'd be eyes on my eyelids so I can snooze the day without anyone noticing (which I do often.) If I were a street in Oakland, I'd be Skyline Blvd, because, the view. Favorite spot in Oakland? I love it all! But I'd have to say Redwood Regional Park...or Raj Indian in Piedmont.

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