Preserve Rural Sonoma County

To: Letters to the Editor: More is Not Sustainable

In response to the Press Democrat’s article, Sonoma Valley Growth Sparks Debate, documenting the many impacts of tourism and winery events that are out of control. Neighborhoods should not be collateral damage in the race for profits. Communities should be FIRST. Economies based on tourism are the first to fall flat and the last to recover. We need a new business model, not Napafication.

More is Not Sustainable

Thanks for the excellent coverage about the debate over Sonoma Valley’s future and residents’ fears of Napification. Sonoma Valley, however, is not the only area being impacted by the wine industry’s gold rush. This may be the canary in the coal mine, as other parts of the county are now victims of case by case permitting that ignores cumulative impacts.


The General Plan accounted for 239 wineries by 2020, yet over 460 have been permitted.


“Wine industry leaders say events are a vital tool for local vintners to sell their wines and remain competitive, “the article states. Yet Silicon Valley Bank (from their May 2015 webcast on tasting room profitability) warned that competition and costs associated with the Direct to Consumer model were eroding profitability.


More is not Sustainable. Silicon Valley Banker, Rob McMillan, says: “…tourists come to wine country because it is beautiful…If (it)  gets crowded and loses its charm –– we will be killing the goose that laid the golden egg.”


We are at a tipping point.  Let’s seek balance, and support existing wineries. That means putting the brakes on ever-more reckless development and curbing competition, which will only continue to cannibalize existing wineries and tasting rooms.

Padi Selwyn

Preserve Rural Sonoma County

The PRSC web site has some great info/stats which can be accessed here: