Two weeks after we learned of a possible $5 million civil suit against the Napa Valley Wine Train related to that PR nightmare last month involving a group of black woman who were escorted off the train after being allegedly rowdy news arrives via the Chronicle and KQED that the 26-year-old tourist attraction is being sold. The train, launched in 1989 by late Rice-a-Roni mogul Vincent DeDomenico, will now belong to Seattle-based Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Ltd., in partnership with a Walnut Creek-based real estate and investment firm, according to a press release from the DeDomenico family.
Also, the timing of the sale at least appears to be a coincidence, and likely is given the usually complicated nature of such deals. The deal apparently closed in early September, and according to a Noble House rep who spoke to the Chron, it "has been in the works for a number of months."
The DeDomenicos were perhaps worried that the PR crisis, which made national headlines, would threaten the deal, but it did not.
And Wine Train CEO Tony Giaccio, who will be retaining his role, said in a statement, “We are confident that the Noble House family, with its proven hospitality expertise, will not only preserve this wonderful institution, but ensure its continued growth and enhancement.”
Meanwhile, that group of East Bay women is still seeking $5 million in compensation for "malicious oppression" and for what they believed was discrimination by train staff. It's unclear though if a lawsuit has yet been filed. Update: Reps for the Wine Train, via the office of PR consultant Sam Singer, inform us that no lawsuit has yet been filed.