Napa wineries upset over proposal to regulate growth

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Napa wineries upset over proposal to regulate growth
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The Napa Valley wine industry is up in arms about a proposal that would increase regulation and limit growth.

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- The issue before the Napa County Board of Supervisors Tuesday was how to manage the wine industry, an industry that some worry is growing too fast for its own good.

Supervisors are considering a package of new regulations but chose to delay their decision until early next year.

"My concern, and I represent neighborhood groups and community groups, is the golden goose that everyone's referring to is going to squash its children," said Dan Mufson, member of Agricultural Protection Advisory Committee (APAC).

The owners of some of Napa Valley's biggest wineries say new regulations to limit their growth would hurt them and all those who rely on them.

"There's 46,000 jobs created by the wine industry. We bring $1.6 billion of revenue in because of what we all do. More regulation is going to harm this valley," said wine maker owner Rob Mondavi.

"What we are speaking about here is far, far too important to be decided in this chamber," said Chuck Wagner of Caymus Vineyard owner.

The proposals were generated by APAC. Among them, requiring wineries to report visitation numbers annually to see if permits are being violated.

"I love the wine industry. I love the grape growers. This is a wonderful valley. No one wants to see what's here go away, but there has to be some direction," said Harris Nussbaum, a regulation supporter.

One big issue whether the proposed growth limits would apply only to new wineries or also to major modifications at existing wineries.