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Foley Johnson winery in Napa Valley closes after worker tests positive for coronavirus

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Foley Johnson winery in Napa Valley, part of the portfolio of Foley Family Wines of Santa Rosa, has temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, the company said Monday.

The winery on Highway 29 joins at least one unidentified Sonoma County winery that in May had workers who contracted COVID-19. However, the Foley Johnson winery and tasting room in Rutherford might be the first in the North Coast wine sector to shutter because the virus infiltrated the workforce.

“No other employees were in close contact with this person, as defined under Napa County health directives. Out of an abundance of caution the site was closed and underwent a deep sanitization,” Foley Johnson officials said in a statement.

Company spokesman Gerard Thoukis declined to reveal further information, such as when the worker tested positive, how many employees work at the winery and the occupation of the infected employee.

A Napa County spokeswoman said Monday she had no information on the virus case at the Foley Johnson winery and noted the county does not typically identify businesses that have workers infected.

The Rutherford winery, a converted 1920s redwood barn, will remain closed either until other employees at the site get results of COVID-19 tests or until the 14-day quarantine period for the virus ends, the company said. In addition to this winery, Foley owns Chalk Hill Estate Winery, Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery and recently bought Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery, all of Sonoma County.

Previously, the virus affected other wine businesses, but they have not been publicly identified. In May, 14 workers at a Sonoma County winery had tested positive, Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said. A group of farmworkers in the county also tested positive that month.

Napa County also has had to temporarily close two of three farmworker housing centers it operates as a result of workers living there contracting the virus, spokeswoman Molly Rattigan said. The workers were moved to hotels and quarantined with financial aid from Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, she said.

About 100 workers overall were affected, though Rattigan said she didn’t know how many workers tested positive.

“Everybody who was there we put in a quarantine and isolation order to not be risky about it,” Rattigan said.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell.

Track coronavirus cases in Sonoma County, across California, the United States and around the world here.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

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