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The Winegrowers of Napa County is looking to the Board of Supervisors to show leadership and do what is best for the entire county as it considers historic changes to the county conservation regulations.

As we participate in the process, it is very concerning that the number one priority of the Supervisors appears to be passing “something” rather than identifying exactly what problems exist and how best to address those issues.

Our wine community is largely comprised of local farmers, vintners, vineyard workers, winery workers and their families who grow, nurture and harvest one of the world’s most sought-after agricultural crops while preserving Napa County’s scenic beauty and agricultural legacy.

While farming has been a critical part of Napa County for generations, today’s wine grapegrowers are utilizing a combination of cutting-edge technology and proven sustainable farm practices to conserve water and resources while minimizing their impact on the land to protect local watersheds, woodlands and riparian forests for future generations.

It is imperative that any changes to the conservation regulations be science- and evidence-based while allowing for thoughtful consideration and review by all parties. Yet, this rush to move forward needlessly continues despite confusion over virtually every aspect. There is so much confusion -- even with terms and definitions -- that it is clear the board cannot possibly be considering the full impact of their actions on all landowners and businesses.

The environment in Napa County is considered among the very best in the world for growing grapes and cannot be duplicated, which is why local wine grape farmers are fierce protectors and critical stewards of the land, waterways and surrounding woodlands. This is proven through our participation in programs that go above and beyond existing regulations such as Napa Green, Fish Friendly Farming and the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing.

For decades, these practices along with the conservation regulations have been successful and effective in protecting our environment, including water quality and quantity. Even the county’s own staff report has stated that the conservation regulations have been effective.

Yet it is clear that some members of the Board of Supervisors feel pressured to “do something” by a small group of political activists who have stated they aren’t willing to compromise, have refused to meet in order to discuss their concerns and constantly threaten Napa County with another divisive initiative if they don’t get their way.

Now more than ever, we need leadership from the Board to do what is best for the entire county and avoid rushing to make changes sought by a few. This issue is too critical to Napa County. Let’s take our time and make sure proposed changes are based in sound science.

Davie Pina, President

Winegrowers of Napa County

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