Monday, May 20, 2019

More than the land (and citizens) can bear


      The latest ploy by Napa Valley's developers and advocates for more growth is to pass new regulations for "small" wineries that would in fact be big wineries. The Board of Supervisors knows this full well but is afraid to cross the big producers and the organizations behind these pro-development schemes.
      Here's a letter written by a long-term responsible vintner to the board, which is now considering this latest scam to justify yet more building on the hillsides and more tourism:

Ladies and gentlemen,  
      For those of you who are not familiar with my last 40 years: I started Dunn Vineyards in 1979.The first vintage was 650 cases or 1600 gallons; about 10 tons, coming from about 4 acres.  So things progressed; up to 2000 cases, 5000 gallons, 33 tons, off of about 13 acres.
     You see where I am going--- 30,000 gallons is by no means a small, family, farmer, winery.  This would mean a crush facility for about 200 tons of fruit, coming off of 50-70 acres!!  Do you really think that this is within the economics of a small, family winery. This is about $10 mil in vineyard value, then, how much for the small winery?
I invite each of you to visit my winery.  We produce about 5000 cases, or 12,500 gallons. We are small in the grand picture of the wine world, but an operation about 2.5 times our size is not. Come see for yourselves. 
     Trying to push 30,000 gallon winery permits thru to protect the small guys out there is ridiculous, and I think that you all realize that. Sometimes, a person should look in the mirror.

       I think he means that the supervisors should look in the mirror since they know more wineries added to the hundreds already there is the opposite of conservation. It flies in the face of the intent of the Agricultural Preserve established in the sixties. Young people who want to get into the business cheaply are half a century too late.
        Land can't remain healthy, productive, and appealing if at some point people don't say no to development. That realization is part of growing up. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Get Real

   John Ruskin, the pre-eminent art critic in Victorian England, wrote that painters should get out of their studios and into their subjects, so to speak, “rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing.” That meant painting every detail of rocks and anything else before the painters' easels, as Ruskin attempted in his famous watercolor, Fragments of the Alps (above).
    He mightily influenced such artists (and poets and other critics) as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais in his native England, where they became known as the Pre-Raphaelites. That meant rejecting the “mannerist” approach of artists who had followed Raphael and Michelangelo, in other words reject academic perfection and get real. 
(Mon Brave by William John Hennessy)

    A whole raft of American painters followed. Now the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has brought many of them together in a small but exquisite exhibition called Radical Realists. It opened at roughly the same time the gallery launched its sumptuous exhibition of the works of Tintoretto, which sucks a lot of oxygen out of building, but in fact Radical Realists provides the ideal respite from Tintoretto’s exuberant genius.
    American Pre-Rapaelites were also staunch supporters of the Union during the Civil War, and committed Abolitionists. Ironically they, like their British counterparts, often portrayed beautiful (clothed) women in great detail and in a manner sometimes suggesting the Middle Ages, as opposed to the Victorian. Colors are sumptuous and the guises tinged with tragedy, but all fascinate and can demonstrate to all plein air painters today that beauty and inspiration reside in detail as well impression.                                              

(A Study of Trap Rock by John Henry Hill)
    If you’re not in DC your can buy the excellent catalogue, The American Pre-Raphaelites online at:

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The earth's an organism, believe it or not

                 And too many people don't

Read this piece in the New York Times:
 Dawn House, oil, vine leaves (Euonymus), and hammered       gumballs (Liquidambar styraciflua) on wood panel, 31" X 15"

Sunday, March 31, 2019


This vine is from RDV Vineyards of Delaplane, Vir. and one of the components of the first Bordeaux blend on the East Coast selling for more than $100 a bottle. Other components in the painting are crushed granite, bluestone, greenstone, clay, vetch and one worm, as well as oil paint, dirt, and water-based polyurethane on maple panel, 30 inches by 8 inches.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Most Napa residents demand more restrictions on development

This letter signed by every mayor in the valley was recently sent to the Board of Supervisors:

Dear Napa County Supervisors, 
It is our understanding that on Tuesday, January 29, during the completion process for the County’s strategic plan, that watershed/water source protection issues will be discussed, potentially to be forwarded on to County staff for preparation of a potential Ordinance. 

This is perhaps a direct result of Measure C and the recently concluded Congressman Mike Thompson committee meetings. Now is the time for the Supervisors to take substantive action on watershed/water source protections for the benefit of the public and the environment, and to ensure there isn’t another divisive ballot initiative.

As elected officials and members of the City Councils of our various cities, we couldn’t agree more. 
80% of our Napa County citizens and residents live in our cities and the health and well being, as well as property values and business investments of our community depend on properly functioning watersheds and the equitable management of our collective water resources.
Our municipal reservoirs, along with the Napa River, are directly affected by developments on our AW (Agricultural Watershed) lands.  
If the County is going to take substantive action on this, it is critical to involve our Cities in forming the Ordinance.  

Other than American Canyon, the voters in all of our Napa County Cities supported Measure C.   

Our people want meaningful watershed/water source protections. True leadership from the County Supervisors must recognize partnership with our Cities to ensure a sustainable water supply in terms of both quantity and quality for the foreseeable future.
Discussion of specific measures needs to occur with full inclusion of our City administrations who bear a responsibility to the citizens/residents we serve.

Geoff Ellsworth 
Mayor - City of St. Helena

Scott Sedgley 
Vice Mayor - City of Napa

Donald Williams
City Council member- City of Calistoga 

Kenneth Leary
City Council member - City of American Canyon

Margie Mohler 
City Council member - City of Yountville

Jeff Durham
City Council member - City of Yountville

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Same old? We'll soon see

                       Buddha Swing, oil and rope on board, 34"x28"

Barry Eberling is a good reporter but badly served by his copy editor. The county is not "tackling" its environmental problems but running alongside them.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Art (mine) in the Anthropocene

Wolf Moon, oil, found material (Papilionidae and paint chips), and water-based polyurethane on canvas, 6"X6"

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Napa fight goes on - thank god

The letter below went to all the supervisors in Napa County, who know that if some additional environmental protections aren't passed soon there will be another ballot initiative in 2020 limiting vineyard development. And it will almost certainly pass.
The new bad actor is the Napa Valley Farm Bureau, once an exemplary organization that with the help of the late Volker Eisele and Andy Beckstoffer set Napa's organization apart from most of the country with its aggressive pursuit of environmental preservation. Now it has been taken over by the Trumpian wing of the vintner elite.  
Subject: Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture Position Statement

January 25, 2019

Supervisors Ryan Gregory, Diane Dillon, Alfredo Pedroza, Belia Ramos and Brad Wagenknecht
Napa County Board of Supervisors
1195 Third Street, Suite 310
Napa, CA 9455

Dear Supervisors Gregory, Dillon, Pedroza, Ramos and Wagenknecht,

With the five of you addressing the Strategic Plan issue of providing greater environmental protections to ensure a healthy watershed, which we very much support and appreciate, we thought it would be useful to give you an update on discussions amongst interested parties.

As you know, in the wake of Measure C’s very close vote Congressman Mike Thompson convened a series of meetings with interested groups. The Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture attended these meetings with the intent of working collaboratively to find agreement on how we can protect the Napa Valley. 

As was requested by attendees, at the final meeting we presented to the group nine points that came from these discussions. While they reduce the goals that were aspired to in Measure C, they will still provide the protections our watershed desperately needs, especially with regard to improving stream setbacks and protecting forest canopy.

Please know that this is a significant compromise. 

At this final meeting, our points were met with indecision. The other parties stated they needed to review them further, which we understood and respected. However, though promised otherwise by the Farm Bureau, we heard nothing from them for more than seven weeks, and to date we still have not received a response. 

We are, of course, fully open to meeting further on these issues – as an illustration of this we intended to attend the meeting that the Napa County Farm Bureau scheduled for Thursday, January 24th. As we are sure you can understand, before any meeting can take place that might be a negotiation, we believe that it is necessary for groups to state their positions so that all sides have a clear understanding of goals and objectives. But the Napa County Farm Bureau had still provided no specific reaction on our positions, and it was known that our participation was predicated upon this.

Attached to this letter is our correspondence with the Napa County Farm Bureau. 

It seems to us that the group leading the Napa County Farm Bureau is uninterested in reaching an agreement to protect our watershed in Napa Valley, and that it believes that the status quo should be maintained. They seem to be using continued discussion to maintain the current situation despite efforts of the community (as measured by support for Measure C) to preserve our watershed and the natural resources that sustain it.

The Napa Valley is a national treasure that must be preserved, and we want you to know that we are here to work with you in achieving this goal of protecting this place that we all call home.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Very sincerely,

Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture 

Yeoryios Apallas 
Andy Beckstoffer
Joyce Black Sears
Laurie and Tom Clark
Randy Dunn
Bob Dwyer
Robin Lail
Dick Maher
Christian Moeuix
Beth Novak Milliken
Cio Perez
Norma Tofanelli
Warren Winiarski

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Art in the Anthropocene

From the New York Times:
  With “This Land,” David Opdyke melds art and environmental activism, hoping to inspire urgent changes in vision, one postcard, and viewer, at a time.
By Lawrence Weschler
Jan. 18, 2019                                                                                
David Opdyke’s new wall piece, “This Land,” a year in the making and fashioned out of more than 500 vintage postcards which he painted over to depict a future of environmental chaos.

Ricky Rhodes for The New York Times
    Seen from the far side of David Opdyke’s street-level studio in Ridgewood, Queens, his dire new art work, “This Land” (over 16 feet wide and 8 feet tall), looks like some sort of mosaic. A grid-work array of colorful tiles (parts of which appear to be falling away toward the bottom), portrays a panoramic bird’s-eye view down both sides of a V-shaped valley, the sun rising in the pristine distance. A crisp, lush pastoral expanse.
    A bit closer up, and the individual tiles reveal themselves to be vintage postcards from the first third of the 20th century — black and white photographs overlain with stylized tinted colors, each one (and there are over 500) portraying a distinct slice of idealized Americana. Town squares, mountain highways, recently completed dams, main streets and county seats, lakes and rivers, forests and farmsteads: intimations of a prodigiously gifted country positively breasting its way into a confident future.
Closer up still, though — and you may need to lean in really close to begin making them out — it becomes clear that Mr. Opdyke has layered in a whole series of diminutively painted interventions of his own, and these limn an altogether darker sense of things as they might be several decades on for this land we appear hellbent on leaving to our own children and grandchildren.
    For indeed, up close we can see that in Mr. Opdyke’s fevered vision, the forests are aflame, smoke billowing up from one card into the next, while an orange grove is decimated by freeze. (“Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.”) A steamboat lolling up the Mississippi is being swallowed up whole by some sort of invasive new species: a mega-faunapus, if you will. The shimmering wheat fields are desiccated, the once proud threshing machines abandoned. A plague of locusts swells out over another tranche of cards. Giant tornadoes churn through entire sections of the grid up to the left. Frogs are falling out of the sky to the right. Monarch butterflies flit and flutter, probably the last of their kind.

    And then there’s evidence, too, of the human response: a cacophony of cults and cons, panic and denial. Biplanes trail banners urging, “Repent Now!” One insists “Legislative Action Would Be Premature,” while still others veritably beg, “Build the Sea Wall!” All over the place blimps float through the sky, offering seats on The Ark — and indeed, over there to the right, across several cards, an Ark is busily being slapped together. Alcatraz Island has been given over to high-rises, with sale banners advertising “Flood-Proof! Secure Luxury!” — which is to say, a whole different kind of prison.
    Mountain playgrounds promote “Artificial Snow!” Traffic jams coil endlessly off into the distance, a green highway sign advising, “Someplace Safe: 96 miles.” Stadiums have been converted into water reservoirs. And pipes course every which way, binding the entire piece in a web of compounding cross-purposes (fracked oil, water diverted toward the privileged and away from everyone else). Every structure, even the cliffscapes, seems slathered with livid graffiti, and from the lower right rises up a sinister murder of crows. After such knowledge, what forgiveness?
    “This Land” invites and rewards and presently compels close viewing: You get sucked in, and as minutes pass, ever slyer details emerge. Eventually you pull away, and the wider scene reverts to that bird’s eye pastoral sublime. Only now you realize the sun hovering above the distant horizon isn’t slowly rising: it’s fast setting.
    It’s not as though the Queens-based artist just up and started thinking along such apocalyptic lines. He’s been pondering them good and hard, for a long time. Back in 2006, for example, he perpetrated “Prospect,” the bas-relief to end all bas-reliefs, an idyllic sylvan scene (a meadow, a copse of trees) idling atop a wedding cake cross-section of the geological underground, each layer distinct and differentiated, with a thin seam of compressed plastic and metal refuse coursing down below. “The stuff’s positively indestructible,” he noted at the time, “and may well end up being all that’s left to mark our time on this earth.” Tomorrow’s Day Before Yesterday, as it were : a regular laugh riot.
    With his current “This Land,” the polarities get reversed. The product of a year’s concerted effort, and to even more compelling effect, offering up, as it were, Yesterday’s Day After Tomorrow. “I’ve been trawling eBay for years,” Mr. Opdyke commented, as he was recently putting his final touches on the piece, “gathering up vintage postcards like these, often in random batches of hundreds at a time. For a long time I was experimenting with repurposing individual cards — had a whole show of those a few years back — but about a year ago, this current project just swam into view and took over my life.”
    The father of two (a boy, 14, and a girl, 10) with his wife, Kimberlae Saul , who is an architect, Mr. Opdyke noted, “For years I’ve been feeling the need to do something about the dismal future into which we all seem to be sleepwalking. And yet,” he paused before continuing, “I’m constantly haunted by worry. Can such artistic gestures ever really make any difference , especially given the sheer scale of the challenge?”
    Reminded of Auden’s line to the effect that “Art makes nothing happen,” Mr. Opdyke seemed to rally, countering, “Yeah, but Eudora Welty says that ‘Making reality real is art’s responsibility,’ and maybe that’s what most needs doing now: making the stakes involved in our current crisis real and tangibly visible for people. One ends up hoping that pieces like this might propel the urgent changes in vision, one person at a time, necessary to provoke an appropriate mass response.”
     That, at any rate, is the decisive wager for Mr. Opdyke and artists like him.
    “This Land” will be receiving its vernissage later this month as part of a mini-retrospective, “David Opdyke: Paved With Good Intentions,” opening Jan. 25 ( through Feb. 27) at the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities in Ann Arbor, where Mr. Opdyke will be in residence as this year’s Efroymson emerging artist. After that, one could easily imagine the piece’s touring the country, dallying in the very sorts of storefronts depicted in its cards, or else in museum or city hall lobbies all around this land, a global warming equivalent of the touring version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Its grid of card tiles would likely need to be lodged behind some sort of protective glass, its throng of viewers reflected, as with the Vietnam memorial, simultaneously in front and behind the scene before them, and thereby directly implicated in the piece’s unsettling unfolding pageant.

    Mr. Opdyke has included a high-resolution image of the piece in its entirety on his website ( into and out of which visitors are invited to zoom and tarry.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Light, glass and stone

A cathedral is as good a place as any to relaunch. This one just happens to be my neighbor:      
Thanks to Susanna at

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Last advice for a beautiful, struggling valley


    Once upon a time a feature writer for the Washington Post was asked to take over the newspaper’s wine column, more or less in his spare time. He agreed, using one day a week to actually find out something about the beverage and to write about its world. Soon styrofoam cartons started showing up on his doorstep. He could soon have amassed enough to build a styrofoam version of a hay bale house, but he also gained an incidental awareness of a place called Napa and found that considerably more interesting than wine itself.
This led to his writing a book about what had happened in Napa, a unique American triumph of agriculture, artisanship and conservation over maximum exploitation. The book was built on close reporting about the lives of those who wrought the extraordinary feat that became “Napa Valley” and that of their descendants.
In other words, he took the subject seriously in a way wine writing doesn’t, including the human dramas and foibles. And many of those written about never forgave him. He was supposed to have labored, he realized, to praise them and their wine. Vintners wanted to be taken seriously in print and on on-line, often while behaving otherwise.
Those styrofoam packages are no longer landing on the wine writer’s front stoop. He long ago realized that the so-called “wine press,” however critical it might be of individual wines, is still an inherent part of the vast publicity machine driving wine sales and tourism. He gets no more invitations to faux “journalism” conferences at resorts, but he still lives in hope that wine journalism will someday throw off the styrofoam yoke and look a more deeply at the roots of all wine writers’ enjoyed largess.
Meanwhile, three decades later, the face of the wine industry no longer bears any resemblance to a collective portrait of recent greats - Andre Tchelistchef, Warren Winiarski, even Robert Mondavi - but rather to a figurative representative, an  overweight real estate developer with dyed yellow hair who’s a lifestyle vintner in Virginia who also happens to be the president of the United States.
Many of the descendants of those who fought to create the agricultural preserve in 1964 have lost their idealism while pursuing wealth at the expense of place. What many of these “leaders” now take seriously is the milking of a cash cow until it expires. Climate change, which should have galvanized them, has instead inspired recklessness. Their concern is no longer the natural integrity of the valley, but maintaining the corporate attitude at all costs, which is getting yours before others get theirs, even when that means tanking the resource.  
Much of the cadre that does take Napa seriously is sitting in this room, a remnant of Jeffersonian idealism working to limit developers and opportunists in the “hospitality” professions which unfortunately today includes wine. If it wasn’t for people like you room these issues wouldn’t be forcefully raised at all. But you need help if the bits of real Napa are going to be held onto, and I believe some of that help has to come from outside the county because the financial and social comfort of existing institutions here is so tightly bound up in the status quo ante.
Money and only money is the real interest of those in control today, and money is in this instance destructive. The philosopher, Edmund Burke, who referred to it as “gain,” recognized gain’s destructive power when it becomes the only value. Burke is the darling of so-called conservatives, but he acknowledged way back in 1756, in A Vindication of Natural Society, that, “The great error of our nature is not to know where to stop” and in the process “to lose all we have gained in an insatiable pursuit for more.”
That pretty much sums up the tragedy of the commons now being played out in Napa. Napa has had more, in Burke’s sense, for a long time, but unless current practices are curtailed it won’t have it much longer. Wine alone, without the physical integrity of this beautiful place, will not sustain the valley in a time of climate change. Everyone knows by now that natural explanations for global warming are baseless and that human release of greenhouse gases account for almost all of it since Edmund Burke’s time. They also know that the primary contributors are the burning of fossil fuels and the cutting down of trees.
The ramifications of all this are vast, but some real mitigation is still possible on the local level. Here are some obvious things that occur to me, admittedly just an on-looker but a concerned one with some knowledge of the place:
Keep a close eye on the privatization of public water sources by corporations and wealthy individuals. They typically want this most precious resource so they can eventually sell it back to you. 
Systematically measure carbon and other emissions from existing wineries to establish a baseline that can be used in future disputes. Citizens are going to have to do this on their own, and it can be be done inexpensively, or so I’m told, by using drones, private planes and satellites.
    Campaign for political contribution limits in  county races that equalize a playing field now heavily weighted toward corporate and developmental dominance.
Sue the county to reverse the change in the definition of agriculture effected a decade ago to include marketing and by implication food service and entertainment. The change should have been subject to the popular vote and wasn’t, a stealth move by outside corporations in Napa that recently  announced, “We’re no longer in the agriculture business. We’re in the branding business.”
Along the same line, start a fund exclusively for suing the county for failing to enforce all existing laws concerning development and wine production. These get insufficient attention and action from those paid to do just that, some of them elected.
And organize a boycott of wineries and corporations that work to elect candidates inclined to do their bidding. Today the internet is a powerful tool with which to find and inform possible allies all over the United States and affect sales in ways boycotts of the past could not. Publicize the names of the wineries and brands that ignore the law and conduct campaigns of disinformation.
My final suggestion may be the most important, and it concerns access to information that should be public. “Democracy dies in darkness” is Jeff Bezos choice slogan for the masthead of the Washington Post, but the phrase comes from a judge in pre-Watergate days discussing wire-tapping. Your darkness here in Napa isn’t absolute, as far as published accounts of malfeasance are concerned; it’s more like persistent twilight. Since the newspapers are all owned by a corporation located not in the Bay Area but in Iowa and it indirectly a dictates what Napans know and don’t know about their issues. It reminds me of the ancient Romans sending the Britons encyclicals, after cutting down their sacred groves.
I have friends who work or have worked for the Register and they are fine journalists. But writers and editors are powerless against bosses who are closely in line with the valley’s prevalent corporate attitude. Finding sustained, meaningful discussion of issues of real importance to Napans lies mostly in the Letters to the Editor section, and there’s rarely real follow-up.
During the lead-up up to the vote on the oaks and stream set-backs initiative, the Register ran a purported list of names of opponents of the initiative without determining whether or not all those names were against it. (They weren’t.) The paper gave credence to other specious claims by the opposition that falsely determined the outcome of the vote, and finally ran an editorial admitting that everything the initiative proposed would be beneficial to the county.
But the paper withheld its endorsement because - you got it - this wasn’t “the right time” for such laws. Instead, the paper recommended more study. You will always know the enemy when he or she suggests forming a committee in lieu of actually doing something. It’s the surest route, if slightly longer, back to where you already are.
The Register’s circulation has fallen in the last couple of decades from 20,000 to about 8,000. But there’s a hunger out there for in-depth reporting on what’s happening, including investigations crying out to be done. There was a brief period when the St. Helena Star was in the hands of private investors, and it could have been a crusader for the valley’s way of life and possibly its savior but they sold out to the newspaper chain in fly-over America.
However, there’s another way in this, the new golden age of journalism under duress. The break-through is on-line, where virtual newspapers dedicated to social and environmental causes rising across America are buoyed by this hunger and America’s precious Constitutional freedom of speech. Work is required, but willing workers there are, as you have proven.
Such an “e-paper,” for want of a better word, would have to be general interest minus the boosterism and car chases, and unbiased as well as unsparing. I’ve done some asking around and getting started is easier and less expensive than you might think. So is the casting of light on activities and individuals who have operated with near impunity. Such publications are riding a wave of outrage breaking across the nation in communities deprived for too long of news and discussion by co-option of information by corporate mentality and outright falsehood.
I have it on good authority that such an on-line paper can be well-launched for as little as $50,000, though twice that is preferable. It’s a long reach for many places, but not for Napa. Needed are a few determined people, a paid local reporter or two, a freelance editor, and contributors willing to report, write, and photograph for the sheer value - and joy - of it. They could quickly make an appreciable difference, and produce revenue through advertising and the selling of shares to interested people, as has been done recently in Sonoma and the East Bay. Berkeleyside, one of the best such publications, recently raised a million dollars, and a similar success could blossom here.
Napa’s e-paper would have to be independent, generally focused, and unbiased. I believe it would make a crucial difference in a difficult and dangerous time, not just for the natural and cultural resources, but also for all citizens. It would have to be totally independent of Napa Vision 2050, of course, but the objectives would be the same: an informed public, elected officials held accountable, and a healthy environment which is the truest general interest.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Take another look at this

     Important to remember where the "defeat" came from                                                                
A reader sent the following letter to me and to the Napa Register:

Follow the Money
Can we be really clear on who is bank rolling the “No on C” campaign?
The “No on C” flier that was delivered to thousands of households through-out Napa County a few days ago was paid for by “No on Measure C, Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture – FPPC I.D. #1401241.” It is listed as a “Campaign Finance Committee” on the CA Secretary of State’s website. There are no names listed in association with the committee, but there is a phone number: (707)258-8668. This is the phone number of Michelle Benvenuto and the Wine Growers of Napa County. 
That’s not really much of a surprise.  But what is interesting is that after digging a little more, I found  the actual mission statement( the Wine Growers of Napa County,  as filed with the IRS when it received its tax exempt status in 1998: 
Please note the last part: “the protection of wineries and their ability to produce and market wine,” because that part of their mission statement is often left off of any more recent descriptions of the organization.
This is the description of the organization as listed on their IRS on Form 990 in 2014, 2015, and 2016 (all public records):
“To promote and defend grape growing and wine making as commercial enterprises in Napa County.”  
That’s pretty specific.  
There is no website for the Wine Growers of Napa County, though they belong to both the Napa and St. Helena Chambers of Commerce. However, you can read much more about this organization in James Conaway’s book, “The Far Side of Eden, New Money, Old Land, and the Battle for Napa Valley.”   Here is a short excerpt from page 183: 
“Consider the state of the valley, advise, bankroll, and wield a big stick, that would be the role of the new Wine Growers of Napa County--” 
If you dig a little more through public records you can find this: the president of the Wine Growers of Napa County as of December, 2016 was Chris Indelicato, who is also the president and CEO of Delicato Family Vineyards, which, according to an article that appeared in Napa Register, June 15, 2017 (“Delicato’s growing presence in the wine industry—and Napa Valley”) is the seventh largest wine company in America and the second largest wine company that has headquarters in Napa. 
Other “officers, trustees, and key employees” in the public record of Wine Growers of Napa Valley include Michelle Benvenuto, Dave Pina, Tony Leblanc, Rob Mondavi, Mike Reynolds, & Carolyn Wasem.
The most troubling thing about all of this is how much money the No on C coalition (whose phone number is shared by the Wine Growers of Napa County) is spending and how many dirty political tricks they are playing to try to convince the voters that Measure C, if passed, will do the very things most residents in Napa County are worried about most:  increasing traffic and the number of mega-mansions, tasting rooms, and event centers, especially when you consider that the original mission statement of the Wine Growers of Napa County is “to protect wineries and their ability to produce and market wine.” 
Do you really believe that the Wine Growers of Napa County will still be telling the voters that more event centers will lead to more traffic after this election?  Or do you think they’re doing their best to confuse and mislead you into voting against your best interest?
Make no mistake, the No on C effort appears to be bank-rolled by some very big money and big winery interests who have hired professional political operatives that are pulling out every dirty trick in the book, including push polls, a failed attempt to deceive the voters at the tax-payers expense, misleading billboards, and the very flawed and misleading mailers that went out last week. They are, just as James Conaway wrote, wielding a very “big stick,” in this case, money, influence, and intimidation. 
Do you really trust them to tell you how to vote?
Do you really think they have your best interests at heart? 
If you want to do a little digging on your own, ask your mayor or supervisor if they accepted any campaign contributions from the Wine Growers of Napa Valley.  
Follow the money.  
Please, don’t be fooled or confused by the dirty tricks. Vote Yes on Measure C.  It’s about protecting the watershed for the benefit of everyone that lives in Napa County.

Name withheld by request.