Opinion: wine industry permits

Dear Editor:

County residents increasingly recognize that a moratorium on new wine industry permits is needed until long-promised tourism event regulations are in place and enforced.  (“Moratorium on wineries sought,” August 7)  Tennis Wick, the head of Permit Sonoma, states that “What we have to deal with now is taxing us at maximum capacity.”  This is exactly why now is the time to put new wine industry use permit projects on hold until the event ordinance is developed.  A moratorium would free up resources so that the much needed ordinance could be developed and still allow permits for residential areas impacted by the fires to proceed.

Town of Sonoma has put a moratorium on tasting rooms due to excessive tourism impacts.

Supervisor James Gore laments that county residents continue to believe wine events are out-of-control.  He claims that “they are afraid their activism is losing ground to wildfire recovery.”  His ploy that the housing recovery from the fire can deflect sensible regulation of spiraling wine events is a stance that goes against public opinion.

The wine industry opposes the moratorium and wants business as usual.  This means lax regulations and no overall assessment of wine industry impacts on increasing tourism traffic.  This is the same stance of the business elites who are guiding the Trump administration to gut regulations when they get in the way of corporate profit.

Chris Stover
Sebastopol, CA