Bill Hocker | Feb 6, 2015Announcement of a buyer for Copia may occur soon
A major missed opportunity if Mr. Price & Co doesn't get this. Hopefully more steroidal developers will run into a buzz-saw of enlightened opposition just as Keith Rogal did in his Napa-Pipe-on-Oxbow proposal.
As has been suggested here
Copia could and should be a major part of a revised wine and tourism equation that has spun out of control in the last few years. Tourism development is moving into the vineyards with many tourism event-centers now slated to pave over the vines. The nominal justification: the vintner needs to place his/her product into the hands of the drinker him/herself in order to turn a profit - direct to consumer. For many, DTC its just the economic excuse necessary to justify building a winery-of-ones-own as a symbol of aspiration to the good life - actually making money is something one does elsewhere.
It's time to end ego statements nibbling away at the vines, and confront the DTC excuse. If there are honest small winemakers that need hands-on DTC to survive, let it happen at the Grand Napa Wine Market located at Copia. It doesn't mean ending winery tours and tastings, but it does mean ending winery "marketing events", with their many community impacts, as a principal marketing tool. Using Copia as a major element of the small-label wine industry to reduce the desirability of vineyard-to-event-center conversions would be an eminently suitable use of this temple to wine. And all those 500-person banquets that wineries around the valley want to host - let them do it at Copia. Need a conference center to go with that new tacky downtown hotel? Copia's perfect. And the bewildered tourists milling around Oxbow Market wondering "Is this really Napa?" would have a wine tasting and buying experience to write home about right next door. Using Copia as a wine market and conference-event center is the right thing to do.