|Mar 13, 2014|
Tourism is a very destructive thing, I mean, anybody who thinks otherwise is just not thinking it through very clearly.- Mel Varrelman 2008 (Supervisor 1983-2002) (from Rue Ziegler's JLDAgFund oral histories)
"Everyone wants an increasingly larger piece of the tourist income. If we ever reach the point where tourism, not agriculture, drives the economy we've lost the ball game".- Planning Director James Hickey 2008(?)
... I think the challenge for Napa County is to regulate tourism, curtail it and make sure that you don't create a situation where tourism competes for resources with the wine industry. That is the real challenge. If I get the rich guys to bring me money for my wine that's wonderful, but somehow if the 30,000 tourists ruin all the highways and then I have to pay in extra fees for fixing the highways, the usefulness of the direct purchase is diminished, shall we say.- Volker Eisele 2009 (from Rue Ziegler's JLDAgFund oral histories)
"Do we want to maintain an agricultural economy that benefits from tourism, or do we want to transfer into a tourism economy that capitalizes on agriculture?"- Planning Commissioner Matt Pope 2014
This is not Disneyland. I think it's just agriculture in the 21st century.- Sup. Alfredo Pedroza 2017
Tourism has never saved anything. It's destroyed many things. Tourism devours what it loves.- Writer James Conaway 2018
The Tourism Event-Center Winery
In a trend codified in the 2008 changes to the Napa General Plan equating marketing and processing in the definition of agriculture, and in approval of State Bill AB2004, the "Evans Bill", in 2008 which allows the purchase and consumption of bottles of alcohol in picnic areas on winery property, and in the 2010 approval of changes to the 1990 Winery Definition Ordinance allowing expansion of food service and "marketing events" at wineries, tourism marketing on winery properties has become an increasingly important aspect of wine makers profitability and is now leading to the proposal and approval of what one wag referred to as an invasion of "crush-n-party pads" (otherwise called event centers) throughout the county.
New wineries are being proposed to the Planning Commission at the rate of almost 1 per month and many established wineries are asking for changes to their use permits to allow increased marketing plans. The County has so far approved almost every marketing plan proposed. They have done so without looking at the long term cumulative effects that radically increased tourism would have in maintaining the county's landmark 1968 Agricultural Preserve.
In the knowledge that small scale agriculture cannot compete profitably with almost any other capitalist endeavor, the Ag Preserve was set up to drastically limit what uses Napa County land could be used for beyond agriculture. Developers have always been pressing against the dikes of the Preserve trying to find a way to turn Napa land to more profitable use.
The Winery Definition Ordinance of 1990 was a response to the development pressure, a compromise between growers concerned about unregulated development of vineyard land and vintners concerned about their profitablility. Wineries and wine tourism, industrial and commercial activities in any other part of the world, were redefined as part of the agricultural process. For vintners, a limited level of winery tourism was codified. For the growers, grapes to fill new winery capacity were required to come from Napa vineyards. It was a balance of interests that slowed (somewhat) development for 20 years. In 2008, the General Plan was updated to integrate marketing into the definition of agriculture. In 2010, in response to the great recession's effect on the high-end wine industry, a growing desire to increase profits by some vintners and the increasing clout of the tourism industry, tourism restrictions were eased in the WDO, and the county officially became more supportive of tourism and the production-vs-marketing scale began to teeter. Just enough so that, apparently, investors saw a reasonable profit to be made in wine tourism, and they have been jumping in since. The map and lists of projects approved or still in planning dept since 2010 are here
2018 Visit Napa Valley Quick Facts
Visit Napa Valley statistics page
2018 Visit Napa Valley Financial Statement
2016 Visit Napa Valley Quick Facts
2016 Visit Napa Valley Visitor Profile
2016 Visit Napa Valley Economic Impact Report
2016 Visit Napa Valley Fiscal Annual Report
2016 Direct-to-consumer wine shipping report
Planning Dept's 7/1/15 statistical analysis of permitted visitation and capacity
Comparison of winery regs in other Calif counties
Excel County winery database
2015 Dir. Morrison's Mar 10th 2015 Data analysis of the county
Wineries (in pink) Under Review by Planning Department as of 8/1/14
2014 Visit Napa Valley Economic Impact Report
2014 Visit Napa Valley Visitor Profile
2013 County Winery Audit Visitation Results
2012 County Winery Audit Visitation Results
2012 Winery marketing event comparisons by the planning dept for Raymond hearing
2012 Visit Napa Valley 2 Economic Impact Report
2012 Visit Napa Valley Visitor Profile
2012 Economic Impacts of Napa Wine and Grapes Stonebridge for NV Vintners
PBES Interpretive Guidance on 2010 WDO changes
2008 Economic Impact of the Napa Valley Wine Industry Stonebridge for NV Vintners
2005 Economic Impacts of and Vineyards in Napa County MKF for DALF and NV Vintners
2005 Napa County Visitor Profile & Economic Impact Study, Purdue University
Napa County Planning Commission Agendas
Geoff Ellsworth's map of potential winery/event center sites in the county
Save Yountville Hill table of recent winery approvals
St. Helena Window Tourism Page including the Butler Report Synopsis
1987-88 Grand Jury report on winery tourism
NYTimes 10/29/22: Savoring Oregon’s Wine Country, No Driving Required
NVR 3/16/20: Amid declining travel, Napa's wine industry braces for coronavirus impact
NVR 2/8/20: A welcome new focus for Visit Napa Valley
SFChronical 10/16/19: Why Wine Country isn't attracting Millennials
NVR 10/16/19: Supreme Court ruling could change the way consumers buy wine nationwide
NVR 6/20/19: Calistoga winery, city spar over what constitutes an 'event'
George O'Meara LTE 5/8/19: "Napaland" - How Napa may become the next Disneyland
NVR 5/6/19: 54 businesses meet Napa County's deadline for code compliance review
Space Daily 5/7/18: Tourism nearly a tenth of global CO2 emissions
Sonoma Sun 4/5/18: Disneyland on alcohol: A sober journey into the hospitality-industrial complex
Napavision2050 LTE 3/28/18: Napa Valley has been degraded from ag to tourism
NVR 8/14/17: Winery appeals stacking up before Napa County Board of Supervisors
NVR 2/17/17: Opponents fear expanded Yountville restaurant would overwhelm neighborhood
NVR 2/5/17: At Napa Valley wineries, the visitor is king
NVR 8/8/16: Conference asks: How does Napa Valley cope with success?
NBBJ 8/5/16: Tourism drives Napa Valley economy amid growing pains
Biz journals 4/22/16: Napa's wine crush: Putting a cork in wineries' growth
NBBJ 5/12/15: Counties grapple with winery outreach directly to consumers
Most of the articles on our resource page deal with Winery tourism
NVR 1/16/16: Sizzling Napa lodging industry posts 14.8 percent revenue gain
NVR 12/26/15: Napa rings up another busy tourism year
NVR 2/14/15: Napa County to explore the price of wine success
SF Chronicle 9/6/07: Napa off the map When an authentic winery was defined as tourist-less.
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Pacaso in your backyard
Tourism going up
Visit Napa Valley
Tourism threatens the world
How sick is our Golden Goose?
Learning from Las Vegas
Wine marketing moves into town
The chain winery
The World of Wine
The GHG's of remote winery tourism
Treasury ramps up tourism
Why build more wineries?
Dry Creek winery appeal - tipping point or same old?
We're having the wrong conversation
Wine Spectator seems to see the light
The environmental costs of tourism
James Hickey Memorial
More tourists please
A Learning Experience
The Caymus Letter
The so-called wine industry
Napa's tourism revenue - the other side
The NBBJ Golden Goose conference
Aug 17th Planning Commission Review
Caymus Development Agreement (updated)
Golden eggs or fois gras.
Event centers or McMansions - the resident's dilemma.
Small wineries, big impacts
The DTC trajectory
The Vine Trail Discussion (updated)
More reading on Tourism
Billboards - Napa style
Traffic and taxes may save us
Your tax dollars at work
A wine selling strategy worth pursuing
Too much of a good thing
Dario Sattui's view of the situation
False choices (updated)
Hudson Vineyards Winery - Oct 7th
Tourism Ã¼ber alles
Short term rentals for long term decline
The murky waters of visitation
Process grapes not tourists!
Let's survey residents about the tourism industry.
Mike Hackett LTE in the Star
2014 tourism industry statistics (updated)
Wine Tourism under the microscope
Cities should ban tourists
Who pays the costs of Tourism?
Napa Valley for sale
The Devil's vineyard
Millions Visit Napa Valley - more to come
Letter to Supervisors on Visit Napa Valley Funding
Agricultural protection vs tourism
The threat of tourism
The direct-to-consumer boondoggle
Resistance is not futile
40 Winery projects in the hopper 1/26/15
80 Pending use-permit Applications?
The Price of Napa Land
A great LTE!
Sustainability versus Napa Valley tourism
Great Wines Don't Need Tourists
The St. Helena Window on Tourism
Updated additions to my tourism use permit roster
Peter Jensen on Winery audit 2013
The Butler Report on Tourist Area Life Cycles
A Faustian Bargain
Combined BOS / Planning Commission meeting to discuss winery-tourism
Tourism or agriculture?
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