WHO WE ARE
Save the Family Farms is a group of owner-occupied grape growers, who grow grapes in Napa Valley, and produce less than 5,000 gallons of wine a year; we classify ourselves are “micro-producers.” Our members produce, on average approx. 1,000 cases of wine/year from fruit grown on their estate vineyards. Current Napa County regulations take a one-size-fits-all regulatory approach, requiring small, family farms to invest $5 million (on average) and several years of time trying for a traditional winery use permit.
Small family farms & vineyards are not designed to fit into a box designed for large-scale winery facilities. Currently, there is no reasonable path to compliance for Napa’s smallest wine producers and this is having a severe impact on Napa’s Small Family Farms. Owner-occupied Small Family Farms—arguably the heart and soul of Napa Valley are on the decline especially with the effects of COVID.
For Small Family Farms & Vineyards to survive, Napa County must acknowledge Family Farms’ historical, cultural, and winemaking legacy by creating a reasonable path to compliance to Napa’s “micro-producers” so they have the ability to host tastings together with direct-to-consumer wine sales.
Our goal has been to create a new avenue for existing small family farms & vineyard growers to participate in a “Micro-Winery Ordinance” in Napa County. We do not want to change the Winery Definition Ordinance (WDO). We want to create an ordinance for Napa Valley’s smallest legacy producers so they can stay in business and be able to pass it on to their future generations.
On March 2, 2021, the Napa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to support the creation of a Micro-Winery Ordinance. The STFF Executive Team is working closely with stakeholders to develop an Ordinance that will allow qualifying Micro-Producers in Napa County to pursue a Micro-Winery use permit. The Micro-Winery Ordinance is expected to be presented to the Board of Supervisors for review and approval in September 2021.
On May 5, 2022 Napa County adopted the Micro-Winery Ordinance. However, state of CA approved new Fire Safe Regulation on Jan. 31, 2023. These new regulations make no distinction between a Micro-Winery and a traditional winery, and impose the same commercial road standards across the board - no exception. The new Fire Safe Regulations will be effective April 1, 2023. We are now focused on getting Napa County to recognize the lack of intensity / density of a Micro-Winery for a possible road exception for Micro-Wineries, granted on a case-by-case basis.
To-date, no one has made it through the Micro-Winery application process and obtained a Micro-Winery permit in Napa County.
The Save the Family Farms Napa Valley (STFF) organization is honored to announce the Verified Napa Valley Micro-Producer designation, a title that celebrates the essence of Napa Valley's origin through a farm-to-bottle narrative as told by Napa Valley’s smallest producers, the Micro-Producers.
Verified Napa Valley Micro-Producers promise wine enthusiasts an authentic connection to Napa Valley's small family farm heritage.
When supporting a Verified Micro-Producer, enthusiasts of ultra-small-batch Napa Valley wines will have the unique opportunity to gain insights directly from the farmer, the owner, and the winemaker who are also the people that answer the phones, write the emails and handle nearly all aspects of their operations with their own two hands. This small business self-sufficiency enables Micro-Producers the freedom to experiment in the vineyard and the cellar too, and they are often celebrated for being at the forefront of innovative winemaking techniques and sustainable agricultural practices.
At the intersection of innovation and differentiated consumer experiences, Micro-Producers stand as shining examples of the artisanal approach to Napa Valley winemaking. Their small size, coupled with a true back-to-the-land movement, enables wine enthusiasts to gain incomparable insights into the craft, passion, and artistry behind each bottle of wine. Wine enthusiasts are encouraged to seek out and support Verified Micro-Producers, as it grants them access to a facet of the Napa Valley that often go undiscovered — a world where passion, tradition, and craftsmanship converge to create unparalleled wines and experiences.
To be considered for this prestigious designation, wine producers must meet specific criteria in alignment with the Napa County Micro-Winery Ordinance.Those interested in applying for a Micro-Producer designation, may apply here.
For a complete list of the 2023
VERIFIED NAPA VALLEY MICRO-PRODUCERS, click on the emblem:
Save the Family Farms is a registered non-profit, 501c3 # 84-2589765. All donations are tax-deductible.
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