A decision to eject several women from the Napa Valley wine train for allegedly making too much noise has caused a social media storm in the US.

Staff ordered 11 women off the Napa Valley wine train and handed them to police, because they were ‘laughing too loud’, according to passenger accounts reported to local media in California over the weekend.

The action has sparked outrage on social media, where users across the US criticised the move for being racially motivated –  a claimed denied by the wine train operator.

Most of the women in the group were African American and the hashtag #laughingwhileblack was circulating widely on Twitter among those critical of the way wine train staff were reported to have handled the incident.

The wine train could not be immediately reached by Decanter.com. But, a spokesperson told Napa Valley Register that passengers would only be ordered off the train if they were being ‘severely disruptive’ and other travellers had complained. An internal audit was underway, the paper reported.

Napa’s wine train runs through 25 miles of Napa Valley, taking in both the California wine region’s glamour and its rich history. Travellers can enjoy wine and meals in vintage carriages courtesy of three onboard kitchens.

It traces its origins to 1864, when Samuel Brannan – reputedly San Francisco’s first millionaire – decided to create a railway line that would take tourists up to Calistoga, in the north of the valley.

  • caligirl

    yeah… this state isn’t nearly as “liberal” as people think.

  • disqus_IKhcXxawuV

    Let’s see. The were warned 3 times. It happens about once a month, according to a rail spokesperson, per what I read. What is the issue?

  • David Jackson

    So soon no one will ever be removed form a public recreation area, in case it’s deemed as being racist. But we start wars with Middle Eastern countries and places in Africa. Yet kicking out a group of black women for acting like hooligans is not allowed? What about the guests that wanted a nice civilised evening away from grown up teenagers? Don’t they count? End of the line for the Napa Valley Train!

  • Gene Allen Shy

    OH MY GOSH…some of you people, really are a special kind of STUPID…do you really believe that racism, comes in only one color…REALLY…you have been drinking more than your share of liberal “Kool-Aid”…

  • Debra Knotek

    What your article fails to mention is that the group was asked 3 times to keep it down or they would get removed from the train. The social media outrage is that these women who ignored the warnings are playing the race card. People pay $124 per person for this experience and unlike some other public forums have assigned seats and can’t move when there is an obnoxious group next to them. The Wine Train gave them a full refund and hired a van to drive them back to their car from where they were removed. This isn’t about color it’s about rudeness.

  • VSamuels

    Whites created an American society strategically operating at an institutional level to advace whites over non-whites. The race card is when some whites try to pretend that they care about resoving racism and care enough to be a part of the solution. Those who toss around the notion that blacks are using a race card—fully realize that they only wish to diminish having to confront racism. Blacks and other non-whites are not responsible nor do they control white racism—it will be white Americans who must step forward and confront racism and the 100s of hate groups in their communities and the way too many of their leaders continue to use race as wedge, and stop using nonsense like ‘race card’ when talking about a problem, that continues to be a disease in many portions of American society.

  • VSamuels

    Agree, except the police stated no one in the group was intoxicated—and the likelihood that 11 or 12 white females or males would have been inconvenienced on the compliant of 1, 2 or 3 black patrons is unlikely. Here, the staff would have choosen to do what they failed to do here—and found other arrangements for the person or persons complaining. This was such an avoidable event, but yet again it illustrates how blacks are demeaned and disrespected, in a society which still will not confront the realities that bias still plays in our interactions. We, are in just another period of Civil Rights struggle—far less overt, but still nonetheless deadly—where now, the denial of racism and bias appears to be as large as the origin sin, racism.

    Sadly, the racist of today convinced of his or her sainthood—motivation is to prove to themselves they are treating blacks or other non-whites the same as anyone else, and while the intent may infact be real and sincere—they still can’t ever seem to phantom that it is the view of the victims of racism, which is ultimately important, if they are to succeed.

    Lastly, those who side with the compliant cant imagine she was wrong when it comes to non-whites—as they see things in black and white, while blaming others who are left to react, to their episodes of bad manners, white privileges and racism. Not seeing how they react in racial terms, only others.

  • Gene Allen Shy

    So many “all knowing” opinions, from individuals not even on the train…so many people, desperately wanting to make this an issue of race, when in fact, this seems to be an issue about respect and personal behavior…some of you, are making far too many assumptions, on very little information…if by the end of the day, I would be surprised if this conversation doesn’t include talk about the rapes and murders that were committed, rail cars burned, and people hung with braided grape vines…why in the hell does everything have to evolve into some sort of social uproar over race…there are times, when people simply show “their ass” in public…
    black, white, red yellow, color does not matter, the “asshole factor” knows no boundaries…as proven by many, right here, in this conversation…people, GET OVER YOURSELVES…

  • Danceroflife

    California has the reputation of being liberal however the truth is that it has the highest number of organized hate groups than any other state in the country, including the Deep South.

    California has a reported 57 hate groups functioning and well established in the state. Moreover of California’s 58 counties, almost half of them(28) a re solidly red(Republican) counties.

    With the exception of Democrat Governor Gray Davis’s short tenure(he was recalled) from 1983 to 2011, California’s governors were Republican and extremist Republicans at that.

  • mistercrispy

    Your denial won’t change reality. The only people who “play the race card” are people who talk about others “playing the race card.”

  • mistercrispy

    Funny you only seem to care when you notice it’s black people doing it. Otherwise you either tune it out, or don’t attribute the boisterousness to the color of the group’s skin.

  • Jeff Daniels

    So many white supremacists even in California.

  • Danceroflife


    Personally, I wish that you and your ilk who are nothing but reptilian racists, would slither somewhere, curl-up and die out thus making this country and world a better place.

  • John Hermann

    Mark H do you even realize that you are racist ? I’m guessing not. Starting your point with “let’s be less politically correct” is not a great way to start. Making a sweeping generalization about the way a group of people of a certain race are expected to behave is racism. No one here is pulling a race card. It’s too hard to ignore the fact that this is blatant prejudice which in my world is the same as racism.
    If this were a group of drunken white women behaving in the exact same manner I can guarantee the train would not have been stopped to put them off. I work in Napa quite a bit and the demographic on most days is some older oenophiles dominated by drunken white women at a bachelorette or birthday party. That’s why this incident is so shocking. Wealthy people go to Napa to pretend to taste wine but really it’s about getting drunk and eating. Which is fine just don’t get bent out of shape when those people happen to not look like everyone else.

  • The Gnome

    They deserved to get kicked off… Race is just the card they are playing and bleeding heart social media is lapping it up. Both need to grow up.

  • Mark H

    Let’s be a little less politically correct and a little more honest. Who among us hasn’t experienced a group of black women being INCREDIBLY loud in public somewhere? It’s obviously a cultural thing, but add some alcohol and a cramped environment and I can see kicking them off the train being totally justified.