Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Can a million dollars defeat common sense?

From the mouths of the ancients...
                           Napa Valley Vintners 


Subject: "No on C" Campaign Support
Date: April 20, 2018
Early this year, the NVV Board of Directors voted unanimously to oppose the Oak Woodland Protection Initiative of 2018.  Now known as Measure C, this initiative will be decided upon by county voters in June.  Measure C further regulates our oak woodlands and expands river and stream setbacks within the Ag Watershed-zoned areas. 
Our history with this initiative is complicated, to say the least.  Over the course of the past year, the NVV Board engaged with Measure C sponsors to attempt to negotiate an outcome that would protect the environment while further supporting and promoting agriculture in the Napa Valley.  Unfortunately, this process did not result in an effective measure that fully achieved the stated goals. 
When the initiative was reviewed by NVV members and the industry organizations in the valley, there was strong opposition.  We held a town hall-style meeting in January to allow legal counsel for both the proponents and opponents to make their case, followed by member input there, and at a subsequent Community and Industry Issues Committee meeting.  Furthermore, NVV board members received numerous direct communications from members.  Most of the members that shared their viewpoints expressed opposition to the initiative.
The legal uncertainties that were raised, coupled with the vocal opposition within the membership and across the valley, led the NVV Board of Directors to vote unanimously to oppose Measure C.  Those concerns were subsequently validated by the County’s independent legal analysis of the initiative.
The Napa Valley Vintners has a long and proud history of continually working to protect our valley.  Our opposition is equally not a nod to support unbridled development within the valley.  As we have for nearly 75 years, the NVV continues its work to protect our local environment while supporting and enhancing sustainable grape growing and winemaking for generations to come.
We are acutely aware that a number of our members strongly support Measure C.  I believe profoundly that we all share the same values and care deeply for our environment.  However, the NVV Board believes that Measure C is not the proper vehicle to advance our common interests in protecting our valley. 
Consistent with that position, the NVV Board has voted to join other industry groups and support opposition activities for Measure C.  In a campaign that’s estimated to cost nearly one million dollars, the NVV will provide $200,000 in support.  Although we know there are members who do not support this action, the NVV Board is convinced that this support reflects membership opposition and is in line with our position on the initiative.  Although individual members and wineries may certainly continue to contribute to the campaign, no further financial contributions will be forthcoming from the NVV.
David Pearson, Chair
NVV Board of Director
       Note: The bulletin I've published above does not say what was the percentage of members in favor and those opposed. Apparently members weren't polled and only those calling in were counted. Since backing restraint in the watershed is now considered unacceptable by the NVVA's conservative board - some of whom have questionable environmental histories of their own - it's not surprising that some other vintners may have been reluctant to voice their approval of Measure C.
     Take a look at the members of the NVVA board and draw your own conclusions: David Pearson, chief executive officer of Opus One; vice-chair Robin Baggett, owner and managing partner of Alpha Omega; Delia Viader, owner of Viader Vineyards & Winery, secretary/treasurer; Jack Bittner, managing partner, Ovid Napa Valley; David R. Duncan, president and chief executive officer, Silver Oak & Twomey; Andy Erickson, vintner, Favia Erickson Winegrowers; Darioush Khaledi, proprietor, Darioush; Paul Leary, president, Blackbird Vineyards; Peter McCrea, proprietor, Stony Hill Vineyard; Pat Stotesbery, proprietor, Ladera Vineyards; and Emma Swain, chief executive officer, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! And thank you for the list of the board of directors! I did a little more digging and came across this: http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/Viader-Fined-by-Napa-County-for-Environmental-Violations_21244
    That explains a lot!