SodaCanyonRoad | We’re having the wrong conversation
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We’re having the wrong conversation


Bill Hocker | May 22, 2018 on: Tourism Issues

Chuck Wagner LTE 5/19/18: Our key industry also needs preservation

Chuck Wagner, in his opinion piece against Measure C, is right to recognize that "opposing sides desire the same end goal. We all agree it’s a priority to preserve our beauty and natural resources." He makes the point that overregulation of the wine industry in Napa County will eventually lead to its demise. I'm not sure that he is wrong.

We are, as he says, having the wrong conversation. He feels that conversation should be whether more regulation is bad or good for the wine industry. But the real question should be why the citizenry of the county feels that more regulation is continually necessary.

Mr. Wagner talks about the wine industry as if it's "grape growing and winemaking", "growers and vintners", "about farming and making wine". Where is the recognition that the wine industry is no longer about farming and wine making. It's now about entertainment and corporate profits and real estate deals. The wine industry now revolves around and will eventually be subservient to the tourism industry and the good-life housing industry. The difference between the wine industry and the citizenry is not about farming and wine making; it is that the wine industry has not regulated itself to avoid creating objectionable impacts on the lives of the citizenry.

Whatever the technical grounds for opposition, (unfortunately projects are forced to be fought over technical concerns rather than philosophical ones) the real issues are the intrusion of tourism into the residential sphere and the creation of vineyards as a trojan horse for real estate development and population growth.

Until the wine industry recognizes this and that the desire to regulate the industry comes not from concern about growing grapes and wine making but from the impacts of that urban development (just as growers recognized in pushing for the WDO in 1990), the conversation will continue to be the wrong one.