The following is an excerpt from a reader's hopeful letter:
There is no way not to notice the lifestyle marketing of wine that has taken over advertising, online and beyond (and which bears not a small resemblance to some form of fraud). It has reshaped communities left and right and asserted a very smothering to to my eye an odd vision of luxury that drowns out other values such as hard work, knowledge, quality, and more.
I hope that the better wine makers and enthusiasts are preparing new generations and have thoughtful proteges... The greatest thing [winemakers] can do is to light a spiritual fire where one can and encourage people to pick up the training they need to become the stewards of the next generations. In our drive to create monuments to ourselves we lose sight of our better contributions. The better stewards aren't always who we expect. They could be from the environmental community or from the distribution community, or even an outcast from the USDA who falls out of favor with the administration.
Napa ultimately may have more value for wine makers across the country who decide that what works for their communities is some other model, and who are somewhat more isolated from the lure of big money. As you have said, there is a discerning clientele forming across the United States.