Industry wants to have its wine and drink it too!

Industry wants to have its wine and drink it too!

EDITOR: Your recent article on Sonoma County’s release of its “capacity threshold study” on wine related events (“County: Wine Industry Needs to Space Out Events,” Nov. 12) noted that, “In July, 2016, the Board of Supervisors asked the county permitting department – Permit Sonoma – to come up with draft ordinances to regulate the wine industry’s events, tasting room and food service guidelines.” Since then, county leaders have long put off key decisions and passed work on to citizen groups. Despite promising to curb the problem, they passed the buck to citizen groups, heavily composed of wine industry representatives.

It’s no secret that tasting room visitation is down. Winery over-development is impacting most wineries’ bottom lines. The downturn in business cannot be blamed on the wildfires alone. The “arms race” in Sonoma County’s over-crowded field has led to wineries requesting larger events and daily food service — which also erodes local restaurant profits!

The 2020 General Plan noted the County’s carrying capacity at 220 wineries, yet the County permitted over 450 with more permits being approved. No wonder the wine industry is clamoring for unenforceable regulations and more events. What other industry fights for more competition on agricultural lands and then complains they need the rights of commercial zoning to stay in business?

Padi Selwyn

Preserve Rural Sonoma County Sebastopol