The leadership of the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) should be applauded for taking the initiative to begin the conversation and the NVV and the Watershed Protection Committee, Mike Hackett and Jim Wilson, for working to fashion the Napa County Oak Woodland Protection Initiative of 2018.
There may be relatively minor, correctable, non-fatal flaws in the content of the initiative just as there were in the original Ag Preservation Ordinance in 1968 and the Winery Definition Ordinance in 1990 but the overall effect on our valley is very positive and should be supported.
Further, and of great importance, the spirit of cooperation and healthy compromise that occurred to efficiently accomplish this solution that is in the longterm best interests of our community is wonderful! There is too little effort today at most national, state and local levels to forgo extreme partisan priorities and “turf” in the interest of the common good.
The initiative will enhance water quality buffer zones and oak woodlands in the Ag Watershed Zone (AW) without overburdening responsible property owners. It will protect water quality. It will protect oak woodlands. It will not affect vineyard replants. It will not impact the conversion of an estimated 6,000 acres of native AW land. We as grape growers cherish our “right to farm” responsively but we must do so while recognizing the importance of the environment that sustains us.
We must also recognize the desires and rights of our neighbors who do not farm but cherish our environment overall.
For all these reasons, I urge all grape growers and county citizens to promote the signing of the petition authorizing the initiative and vote “yes” for the initiative in June 2018.