California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered 19 counties to shut down their vineyards and wineries due to the rise in the number of cases of COVID-19, but his own in the relatively unscathed Napa Valley remains open.
The governor issued an executive order on Wednesday requiring establishments cease indoor operations.
These include restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, cardrooms and bars.
The order is a three-day decree that allows these businesses time to move their operations outdoors, where there is believed to be less risk of spreading the virus.
The 19 counties that were named in the executive order are located mostly in Southern and Central California.
But Napa County, which is home to California’s world-famous wine country, has so far reported just 343 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Napa County was exempt from the governor’s order on Wednesday.
It is also home to PlumpJack Estate Winery in the Oakville section of Napa.
PlumpJack Estate Winery’s website indicates that a wine tasting is scheduled for July 7 – this coming Tuesday.
Newsom, a multimillionaire, is one of the wealthiest governors in America.
His wealth is derived from holdings in the hospitality industry, including wineries, vineyards, bars, restaurants, cafes, and hotels in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Newsom and his wife reported more than $1.2million in income during his final year as the state’s lieutenant governor, the majority of it from outside business interests.
Newsom’s 2018 return showed nearly $394,000 in wages, of which about $151,000 was his state salary.
His wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is a filmmaker and actress with her own outside income, though the couple filed jointly.
Their $1.2million in total income was reduced to about $973,000 in taxable income through various business and other deductions, including $25,683 in unspecified charitable contributions and declaring his four young children as dependents.
In 1992, Newsom and composer Gordon Getty, a descendant of the late oil baron J. Paul Getty, opened a wine shop in San Francisco called PlumpJack Wines.
The business then expanded after the two men acquired a 42-acre vineyard in the Napa Valley.
Newsom’s company has since expanded even further in the hospitality industry, amassing millions of dollars worth in assets.
According to its website, The PlumpJack Group owns and operates Balboa Cafe in San Francisco, a ski lift and lodge in Squaw Valley, several bars in the San Francisco Bay Area, and other properties.
Tax filings from 2018 show that Newsom and his wife own stock in PlumpJack Group.
The couple earned a combined salary of nearly $600,000 in 2018, according to Fox 26 TV.
Shortly after Newsom was elected governor in November 2018, he moved to place his ownership interest in PlumpJack Group into a blind trust.
Newsom transferred title and control of the businesses to a family friend, Shyla Hendrickson, a lawyer and certified public accountant who agreed to serve as a trustee.
Under the terms of the blind trust, Hendrickson has total authority over the assets, including the power to sell off Newsom’s stake without consulting him, according to the Los Angeles Times.
By law, Hendrickson is not allowed to talk to Newsom about business considerations.
Newsom’s sister, Hilary Newsom Callan, is president of PlumpJack Group, an arrangement that is legal under state law.
The governor is permitted to maintain his ownership stake in the company. He is also allowed to sign into law bills that benefit him financially as long as all residents of the state derive the same benefit.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Ariel Zilber; The Associated Press