The labor shortage
Bill Hocker | Apr 8, 2019
Wine-searcher 4/7/19: Napa Staff Shortages Hurting Wineries
A Glenn Schreuder forwards this article commenting that "It would appear that our county's tourism-based economy is coming under significant economic stress and any new development only further exacerbates the fundamental problem.
It has continued to baffle me why the supervisors have been so (myopically)
interested in supporting new winery development projects when they needed to
be encouraging significant diversification of the local economy away from a
This article follows by a day another Wine-searcher article with a similar concern about Napa's current worker woes, coming from a Measure C angle.
Wine-searcher 4/6/19: Napa's Problem is Cars, Not Drought
Just on heels of his insights on the meaning of the opening of The Prisoner Winery, the Register's food and wine writer Tim Carl has done a deep dive, with statistics, into Napa's labor shortage.
NVR12/1/18: A staffing shortages clouds the future of Napa Valley restaurants
Glenn Schreuder send this link:
SF Chronicle 5/29/18: Wine Country institution Terra to close after 30 years in St. Helena
"The reason for the closure, said Doumani, who owns the restaurant with husband Sone, isnít profitability. 'Weíre making money (but) we canít get staff,' she says."
Two articles point to big problems for the agriculture and and tourism industries:
LA Times 3/17/17: Wages rise on California farms. Americans still donít want the job
NVR 3/15/17: Napa hospitality businesses collaborate in new ways to find workers
NVR 11/19/16: Napa restaurants making extra effort to find workers
Glenn Schreuder just sent this article in the North Bay Business Journal:
NBBJ 9/30/16: Record Napa Valley hospitality job openings challenge employers
A main argument propounded on this site is that the hundreds of construction projects being approved in the county will create more commuting employees, requiring more urban infrastructure and services and place greater pressure for housing development in a never ending cycle of urbanization that will leave Napa county looking like the rest of the Bay Area in the next generation.
Based on the above article, I may have been wrong. Given the jobs boom occurring everywhere at present, the hassle of commuting to Napa Valley to work is apparently not worth it. And as I've said before, affordable housing in Napa is a pipe dream.
This lack of desire on the part of employees to work in Napa may presage another trend that has also been mentioned before: the incredible expansion of tourism venues now approved and scheduled to be built in the next decade may suffer the same reluctance by visitors who also don't want the hassle of gridlocked traffic and overpriced digs.
Napa County, thinking the attractive charm of a rural agricultural community can be visited by the world without the charm being destroyed, is rapidly building itself into a box. It appears we are headed for the worst possible outcome - turning a rural environment and way of life that has proven economically viable into an urban environment that can't support itself.
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