Yountville Sun Letter-to-the-Editor 4/30/14
Bill Hocker | Apr 30, 2014
[sent to the Sun (and accepted!) on 4/30/14]
This is a letter to the editor regarding this week's article about "Opposition to Yountville Hill Winery Proposal Growing"
At what point will we begin to recognize the havoc caused by the WDO in its attempt to equate tourism with agriculture. The two have always been mutually exclusive and tourism will eventually, at best, allow only a parody of a wine based economy - just enough so the tourists will continue to come. A parking lot or a winery is infinitely more profitable than the area of vines they replace and each new winery project nibbles away the area in the County devoted to real agriculture.
The loss of vines on the valley floor to the monuments of self aggrandizement we call wineries have so far been made up by the conversion of watershed to vineyards in the hills by other self aggrandizers. But raw land available for vines in the County is quickly diminishing at the same time the number of wealthy individuals seeking a winery of their own, a trend the County seems quite happy to encourage, is increasing dramatically.
Winery capacity has already exceeded the grapes available - the vintners are grousing at the 75% rule. Once that standard is dropped, as it must be as ego-tourism becomes economic engine of the County, the decline will be rapid. More and more Yountville lightbulbs will pop up to spoil the vistas across the valley and clog its highways.
It is past time for the Supervisors to put a moratorium on the numerous 100,000 gal/yr wineries in the pipeline and begin looking at the long term impacts of unlimited venues for "wine pairings" and "marketing events". They are placing both the agricultural economy and the agricultural beauty of the County in jeopardy, already close IMHO, to a point of no return.
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