The Le Colline Vineyard Project has been approved by the Napa County Planning Department and will be appealed by the Center For Biological Diversity to the Board of Supervisors on August 15, 2023.

Now is the time we must act! Your letter of opposition to the Le Colline Vineyard Project is sorely needed. In addition, please join us that day and make public comment at the hearing. This newsletter will give you details about how you can help.

In his updated edition of A Forest Journey: The Role of Trees in the Fate of Civilization (Patagonia Works, 2023), John Perlin quotes Cicero from over 2000 years ago when government officials were selling off state forests to private interests. “He is a luxurious rake who sells his forest before his vineyards,” Cicero expounded, to no avail. Perlin’s book traces how major civilizations of the world shrank or failed when forest land was exploited to fund war and shipbuilding, iron forgery, glass-making, and, yes, vineyards. Perlin’s book is a sad history but also a warning: Trees are why we can exist on the earth. They create oxygen from carbon dioxide in the air, allow groundwater restoration, and hold the soil in place. “Wood was the foundation upon which early societies were built” and which, when exploited, was also their demise.

This raises a serious question: Are we reaching a similar tipping point in Napa County? Le Colline Vineyard is only one of the latest examples of vanity vineyards in remote locations, now designated as high or very high fire danger areas. More development threatens residents’ safety and quality of life as it also raises fire risk. Many of these vineyards are in our precious watersheds and vital to groundwater restoration. Instead, they pump groundwater, depleting supplies already in overdraft. Le Colline potentially impacts the water supply of the city of Napa as its waters, easily polluted by agricultural chemicals, drain into Conn Creek and on into Lake Hennessy. As a whole, these projects represent a willful blindness by Napa County Planning Department to the collective impact of vineyard development in our watersheds, one small block of vineyard at a time, as native trees and grasses are clearcut and disposed of, until the ecosystem and our water supply collapse.

Le Colline Vineyard development must be stopped. Click here for Save Napa Valley Foundation’s pointers about how you can help. Click here for more information in our last newsletter. Because this appeal is an appeal, the critical issues to address in your public comment (please come or call in!) and in your letter to the Board of Supervisors are those listed below.
Please click here for the Center for Biological Diversity’s response to the draft Environmental Impact Report and for details on each topic. Stick to one or more of these topics in your own wording or experience.

*Napa County’s fire history shows that small, isolated vineyards like the Project are vulnerable to wildfire and are not effective fire breaks. This threatens the lives of residents on Cold Springs Road.
*The Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the DEiR amounts to greenwashing and contributes to the climate crisis.
*The Project will likely degrade the water quality of Conn Creek and reduce the groundwater in the region.
*The project harms wildlife habitat.
*The project will negatively impact the adjacent Linda Falls Preserve.