The following letter to the PD published in Sundays paper hit the nail on the head when it comes to all the problems of an out of control winery event and tasting room expansions. Europe has a business model that truly works. We have a failed model in this county that only the large corporate owned wineries can compete in. Our failed model of wide spread tasting rooms and events all over the county has caused way too many problems for the locals. The wineries need to stop this model if they truly want to level the playing field for the small wineries, (many of which have been gobbled up by global corporations who now seek small boutique wineries with limited production so they can charge more) and keep the residents of our county happy instead of fighting every proposal to make life better for everyone else.
Let’s move all tasting rooms and events to a well located area like Wells Fargo center so our neighborhoods and communities are not impacted. This is where the county needs to go to protect our beauty that attracts tourism and not exploit our neighborhoods and infrastructure. Please write your Supervisors and or show up Tuesday for the event meeting discussion.
A Better Location by K. Cutler
Beautiful Sonoma County is fortunate to have a thriving agricultural industry, which helps to preserve our rural areas. However, we are experiencing increased conflict over the expansion of winery tasting rooms and event centers in our rural areas.
Wineries face difficulties marketing their wines, and I would like to suggest that we consider incentivizing wineries to develop their tasting rooms, event centers and other retail activities in already established retail areas in our towns and cities. This way, we could more reasonably deal with the added traffic, noise and water use from wells. Customers could easily travel from one tasting room to another without having to navigate narrow, winding roads from one rural location to the next. Locating winery retail activities in commercial zones would reduce mileage driven by visitors, utilize public transit, increase road safety and preserve rural neighborhoods.
Sonoma County’s general plan established clear goals to reduce vehicle traffic, direct traffic to major roads, reduce noise and pollution related to individual vehicle traffic and promote use of public transit. These goals are essential to maintain the natural beauty and rural integrity of the county we all cherish. Thank you.