Bill Hocker | Feb 2, 2020Update 8/23/20
NVR 2/23/20: Napa, North Bay growers face a softened, fluid market for premium grapes
CNN 2/17/29: The price of wine is dropping fast
NVR 2/6/20: To solve grape glut, California growers told to reduce 5 percent of vineyard acres
NVR 2/11/20: California's grape crush report not reflective of market, experts say
It is perhaps not illogical that the efforts by the county and wine industry in Napa to streamline winery use permit approvals is happening at the same time that demand for wine is falling from of lack of interest by a new generation of consumers, avid foodies nonetheless turned off by the stuffy pretensions, high costs and phony hard-sell "experiences" of wine connoisseurship.
A similar dynamic happened when wine demand tanked in the great recession and the county and industry also pushed the County to encourage more winery tourism. Changes in the WDO to allow more food service at wineries and the creation of Visit Napa Valley were the result. More wineries have since been approved to attract more tourists needing more restaurants and hotels requiring more commuting workers, parking lots, affordable housing, infrastructure and road expansions.
And poof, here we are, a beautiful rural landscape and an authentic, productive agricultural economy are disappearing, being reduced to a mass-market tourist trap living on the fumes of a storied past.