To Promote the Health, Welfare and Safety of our Communities by Advocating for Responsible Planning
to Insure Sustainability of the Finite Resources of Napa County.

Protecting Our Quality of Life



In 1968 our leaders had enough foresight to create the Agricultural Preserve which pushed commercial activities into the municipalities. Over the years there have been many assaults on the preserve which the citizenry have fought to protect with Measure P. Today the attack is centered on the definition of Agriculture. Over the years the county's definition of agriculture has expanded to include marketing and sales. More recently food-pairing has been promoted to enhance winery visits resulting in restaurants and event-centers on ag land. Napa Vision 2050 believes this bad.


Traffic



Miles of cars on Highway 29

No one wants to own up to the ever-increasing traffic that has mired our two arteries, Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail. Yet the wineries demand more visitors to feed their direct-to-consumer sales model; the cities gladly encourage new hotels so they can grab the coveted TOT money and the Visitors Bureau keeps promoting more visitations. But they all deny that they have produced the traffic problems. When is enough, enough?

Tourism



Every year there are more tourists and overnight stays in the Napa Valley. The wineries are happy as this feeds their direct-to-consumer sales model. They encourage visitors through the addition of food-pairings and special events. The hotels are happy. The cities where the hotels reside are happy because they get increased TOT (tax) revenue.
The only ones who lose are the citizens who pay for infrastructure replacement; endure increased traffic; and worry about water supplies.


Compliance with Winery Use-Permits



Napa County currently has a winery ‘audit’ program limited to 20 wineries per year. The Planning Commissioners choose the next year’s subjects by drawing 20 numbers, plus 4 alternates, during a regularly scheduled public meeting. The identities of the chosen wineries are not made public during the drawing, the audit process or in the final audit report to the Supervisors. Inclusion in the process is totally voluntary and any chosen winery can refuse to be audited.

County staff sends a “self-reporting questionnaire” to a randomly selected group of wineries asking them to respond. It should be noted that the program is not an audit as defined by Merriam-Webster: “a complete and careful examination of an organization’s accounts; a methodical review. Rather, it is a questionnaire: “a written set of questions that are given to people in order to collect facts or opinions about something.”

Representatives from Napa Vision 2050 who served on the recent county Agricultural Protection Advisory Committee (APAC) prosed a more comprehensive quit for all wineries as follows:

The program will have the following components:

1. It will apply to all existing and new wineries.
2. The data will be submitted online to create a database.
3. An annual sworn affidavit by the Owner/President must be submitted certifying their use permit compliance.
4. Formal audits will be performed by County personnel trained for this purpose, or third-party audit firms.
5. The program is to be funded by fees based on visitation (tasting, events) and/or permitted wine production. The funding goal is to support annual audits of 33% of the wineries.
6. There will be a schedule of mandatory penalties for non-compliance based on the factor in question: In addition to monetary fines, the penalties will mandate a return to the operations outlined in the original Conditions of Approval, and thereafter, a three-year waiting period, with clean audits, to apply for any use permit modifications for production or visitation increases.
7. The components of the audit will include: production, grape sourcing, visitation, retail sales, the approved marketing plan, events, temporary events, food costs for food and wine pairing events, water usage and waste water volumes and handling. The Audit could include a review of the winery’s Conditions of Approval to ensure that all relevant requirements are being met.

A watered down version of this proposal was supported by the APAC which now goes to the Planning Commission for their evaluation.