Napa Valley: A Twist on Controlling Development

Napa Valley CaliforniaThere have been countless examples through the years of big business locking heads with agricultural concerns over the development of land. In most cases, it involves efforts to protect the land from development.

But what if the big business involves the land? Case in point: the larger wineries that call Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Santa Barbara County and other grape-growing regions home. What if existing wineries wished to expand their operations?

That’s an issue now facing wineries in Napa Valley after local government officials and activists worked to develop a plan that would limit future winery growth. They’re looking at everything from the size of buildings that can be constructed on a winery site to the number of weddings that can be hosted at the winery.

Why all the fuss? According to this report, it has to do primarily with congested rural roads at times when special events are conducted, and rising housing costs as wineries take up more and more of the available land.

Personally, I can see both sides of this issue. And I’m not being wishy-washy. As a wine lover, I want to see regions such as Napa Valley and Sonoma County be everything they can be in terms of wine production and offering “experiences” that relate to my favorite beverage. Wine grapes can be grown only in certain climates, so it makes sense to maximize the vineyard plantings in such areas.

On the other hand, people still need to live in such areas, and I can understand how their quality of life would be negatively impacted by traffic jams (even if they aren’t of the proportion we must deal with regularly in the “big city”).

Here’s hoping the powers that be — on both sides of the issue — can work to a conclusion that makes sense for everybody.

Perhaps they need to discuss it over a nice bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Posted in Wine Buzz
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