Bill Hocker | Aug 30, 2014
Vineyards and the grapes they produce are a finite quantity in Napa County. There is still some room for some expansion of the crop, but as water resources become ever scarcer and the developable land ever more difficult to access and community activism stretches out the development process, the rate of wilderness to vineyard conversion will diminish.
Eric Vaughn has made a proposal that should be at the heart of winery development in the County which links winery capacity permitted to the size of the crop available for wine. I have reproduced it here.
The decision to build a winery should be based on the need for new capacity to process newly created vineyard acres in the county. The capacity permitted for a new winery should also be based on the new vineyard acres in production. Since it is impossible to have new vineyards directly related to new wineries, a market in winery capacity should be developed. New winery capacity permitted should be based on the amount of new vineyards added each year, e.g. 10,000 gals for each 10 acres of new vines on undeveloped land. In addition a bonus should be made for the conversion of developed land back into vines, e.g. 20,000 gals for each 10 acres when restoring already developed land. Developers of new vines can sell their capacity equivalent. Wineries with excess permitted capacity can sell that to other wineries. Expansions of existing wineries should likewise be based on the capacity that they purchase form others or from the new vineyards that they bring into production.