A case of mistaken identity has wreaked havoc on one of Murphys’ main street wineries.
Newsome Harlow Winery owner Scott Klann told the Enterprise that running his business during a pandemic was difficult enough before he was bombarded with angry phone calls and messages last week. Klann says his winery has often been wrongly associated with Gov. Gavin Newsom since it was founded 20 years ago. He used to think it was “cute,” but he doesn’t anymore.
“I understand that people are angry right now. We’re just trying to get the word out it’s not us,” Klann said.
Fueling the vitriol is that the California governor does, in fact, own a number of wineries under the PlumpJack Group, based in San Francisco. Klann says the keyboard warriors doubled down on their erroneous attacks after Newsom ordered a second shutdown of indoor restaurants, wineries and other businesses on July 13.
Following a wave of negative online reviews from people who had never visited and even a successful hacking of the winery’s Google listing to read “permanently closed,” Newsome Harlow fired back with a Facebook post and press release explaining their predicament and denying any perceived ties to the governor.
The attacks have subsided a bit since, but given the winery’s history, it is unlikely they will ever disappear entirely. In 2018, their tasting room was reportedly vandalized with “#metoo” and “liar/cheat” graffiti.
Yet when asked if he would ever consider changing his winery’s name, Klann replied with an immediate, “Hell, no.”
Named after his mother’s side of the family, Newsome Harlow Winery is testament to Klann’s upbringing and entrepreneurship in Murphys.
“We strive to be good citizens in Calaveras County and in the state of California. We are well regarded by our customers and vendors,” Klann stated in the press release. “We have created an apolitical space where people always feel comfortable and find common ground based on a love for wine, intelligent conversation, rock and roll and a lot of fun.”