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Where is Winery Fatigue and Discontent in California Coming From?

There is news of speading discontent over new wineries (as well as tasting rooms) proposed in Napa and Sonoma. "Is Anti-Winery Sentiment Building?" asks Rob McMillan in SVB (Silicon Valley Bank) on Wine. McMillan points to class issues surrounding wine as part of the fuel for this fire:

"In some respects this backlash is self-inflicted because we used to promote the wine business as a weigh-station for wannabe rich and famous tourists. The general populace however roots for the underdog and hopes the top dog falls off their mountain top. That's been made abundantly clear with the Occupy Movement messaging and the related social threads since the Great Recession."

Individuals, politicians, and even some in the wine industry have come out against new large projects and expanded tasting rooms/wine bars. For some, it's the sheer scale that they are opposed to, not necessarily winery growth in general. As Phil Baxter states, "I believe the opposition grows as the ostentatious nature of the projects is going over the top, mostly by outside new wealth wanting the ego boost. Even as a 45 year member of the wine industry and resident of St Helena, I find myself very put off by this trend. Tragedy of the Commons is very well applied here."

"Tragedy of the Commons", Garrett Hardin's economic theory, refers to when individuals belive looking out for themselves trumps the benefit of the group when it comes to use of a resource.

When does development in a community reach a point where the benefits of jobs, an increased tax base, and a greater influx of tourists are outweighed by quality of life issues for the residents of places like Napa and Sonoma?



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