SAVE THE FAMILY FARMS
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 estate vineyards. Current Napa County regulations take a one-size-fits-all regulatory approach, demanding small, family farms invest up to $10 million and several years of time trying for a 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 (micro-wineries). 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. Data shows 200 small family vineyards have either gone out of business or sold to investors in the last decade as a result of the unfair regulations imposed on growers.
For Small Family Farms & Vineyards to survive in a winemaking industry increasingly dominated by absentee-owners, the 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 may participate in limited tastings together with direct-to-consumer sales.
Our goal is 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 or amendment for Napa Valley’s smallest legacy producers, that so they can stay in business and be able to pass on to their future generations.
Situation: Small family vineyards are not permitted to host tastings and sell Napa Valley wine on their family farm
Complication: This creates an economic hurdlemaking it virtually impossible to legally make a living growing, tasting and selling wine from Napa vineyards
Implication: Napa Valley small family vineyards will disappear if nothing changes
Position: We do not want to change the Winery Definition Ordinance (WDO). We are asking for the creation of a "micro-winery" ordinance
Proposal: Please support the creation of a Napa County ordinance to allow limited wine tasting & direct to consumer sales on small family vineyards that meet responsible regulations
Creates a balanced playing field for equal access to “direct to consumer" tasting and sales for small family vineyards
Preserves Napa’s small family farm legacy and unique history
Protects the environment by eliminating the need for new infrastructure
Keeps Agriculture as highest and best use of Napa Land
Enables family farms to be passed down to the next generation of Napa Valley farmers
Reduces the take over of farmland
Bill Wolf, Paul Maroon, Ken Nerlove, Jerry Robertson, Dona Kopol Bonick, John Bonick, Roxanne Wolf, Rebecca Griffin, Thomas Wargovich, Christine McMillan, Hayley Hossfeld, Juan and Miriam Puentes, Jason Elkin