SodaCanyonRoad | China Syndrome

China Syndrome

Bill Hocker | Apr 4, 2018 on: Tourism Issues

Update 6/30/18
China Daily 9/5/17: Reviving a winery in Napa Valley

The Maxville Winery will be returning to the Planning Commission on Aug 1, 2018 for a major modification of their use permit to increase output from 65,000 gal/yr to the 240,000 gal/yr cited in the article.

Update 4/4/18
NVR 4/4/18: China tariffs on U.S. wines raises concerns among Napa Valley vintners
NY Times 4/2/18: China Finds California Wine Pairs Well With a Trade War

The restriction on a major export market will probably only increase the pressure to sell wines as a tourist good here. But then the number of tourists coming to the Valley may decrease as well.

Update 10/7/17
Wines&Vines 5/15/17: A winery trend stalling?

Unfortunately not before leaving some potential damage to the nature of Soda Canyon Road. In all fairness, we can point to the sense of community that opposition to commercial exploitation of the road has fostered.

NVR 4/27/16: Visitors from China: As numbers grow, the search is on for ways to increase their welcome

It appears that Napa is gearing up for true bulk tourism ŕ la Castello di Amorosa and Bunny Foo Foo - with Chinese characteristics. This article makes the wine industry seem actually gleeful at the thought of the money to be made from Chinese masses, an attitude, I suppose, shared by western entrepreneurs since the Treaty of Nanking. (Opium the drug then being peddled). Are Dominus or Harlan really itching to open their gates to the multitudes? Are there any vintners left in the county more interested in making wine than selling wine-pairing experiences with Chinese food?

And what if the dreams are realized? The totality of Napa brand red wine produced each year will now supply 14 days of Chinese wine consumption - and Chinese wine consumption is growing rapidly. How will the Napa vintners keep their Chinese customers happy? The end of the 75% rule is definitely in sight.

Unfortunately, we on Soda Canyon Road seem to be on the front line of the invasion with a winery event center being developed in conjunction with Hong Kong wine tourism interests. Given the stars in the eyes of the good-life impresarios, and a board of supervisors increasingly becoming a hardened tool of development interests, the effort by residents to save Napa county from its rendezvous with a theme-park-tourist-trap destiny seems more quixotic than ever.


Daily Mail (UK) 3/17/15: Chinese rivalling French to buy Bordeaux vineyards
Napa Broadcasting's Jeff Schectman's interview with the author of China's Lust for Bordeux and the Threat to the World's Best Wines.
Financial Times 6/12/15: China’s grape rush
NVR 6/23/15: Thousands of Chinese visitors throng to Napa Valley this spring
Guardian (UK) 1/29/14: China becomes biggest market for red wine, with 1.86bn bottles sold in 2013
Taste 2013?: California Wines Get Boost from China Trade Mission
Wines&Vines 11/1/12: Fund Seeks $100 Million to Buy Vineyards
Real estate promo: Chinese Buyers Invest in Napa Valley Real Estate
Mountain Peak Developer 10/25/10: China Aquires Taste for California Wines
And this from 2010