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In Napa Valley, we have a vibrant and successful agriculture-based tourism economy fueled by a dynamic wine industry in a spectacularly beautiful setting.

Through craftsmanship, competition and yes, tourism, Napa’s wine and grape industry is motivated to produce better wines at higher prices that create a robust market for the valley’s grapes unlike anywhere in the country. That translates to higher vineyard pricing, higher wages in the industry and most importantly ensures the long-term viability of the Napa Valley Ag Preserve.

The relationship between visitor and vintner creates business success and contributes to a lifestyle many residents enjoy and appreciate. In fact, a recent survey on Community Perceptions of the Wine Business conducted by the Wine Business Institute School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University suggests a positive impact: Most North Bay respondents (88 percent) said that wineries have either a very positive (46 percent) or positive (42 percent) impact on the quality of life in their county.

When winemakers are able to show their wines directly to the visiting consumer, they create long-term ambassadors for their brands through direct sales. Consumers also spread the word on these wines and experiences, increasing sales opportunities that keep the Napa Valley wine industry at the forefront of the world’s wine market. Studies and experience support that there is no substitute for winery visitation to ensure the success of a brand and promote the region.

As a local resident frustrated by traffic and high-priced restaurants, the quality of my life in Napa is still very good. I can walk among vineyards with nature and mountains and forest as a backdrop from almost anywhere in the Valley. I was heartbroken when the fruit orchard next to our development went down to million- dollar housing but our town needed the housing within the city limits.

Keeping the Ag Preserve viable is integral to maintaining the quality of life we enjoy in Napa County. And keeping the industry viable and at the top of its game ensures the Ag Preserve will survive. As a reminder to those who oppose winery development, the Ag Preserve was established to prevent the subdivision of the county's prime agricultural land – not prevent winery development.

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It is right for locals to voice opinions about their frustrations, and finding the right mix between the wine and hospitality industry and residents will take time. There will be winners and losers. But we all bought into this farming community when we signed papers to buy homes here.

Terry Pilch

Yountville

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