Press Release



Nina Erlich-Williams,


After Cooperating with Proponents on Watershed Protection Initiative, Napa Valley Vintners Reverse Course

A narrow- focused handful of people benefitting from the status quo influence the Napa Valley Vintners board, convince group to fund campaign against the initiative

Napa – In an abrupt reversal of its initial support for the Napa County Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection initiative, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) have voted to oppose the effort. The initiative, which will be on the June ballot, will enhance protections for the oak woodlands and streams that are part of Napa Valley hillsides and play a vital role in securing water supplies, water quality, the visual appeal of the Napa Valley, and the health of our local ecosystems.  

Under the leadership of its board, NVV representatives collaborated with initiative proponents last year to develop compromise language for the initiative. The NVV board paid $25,000 to support drafting initiative language and initially directed two of its leaders to sign on as official proponents. In response to NVV’s abrupt reversal on this issue, proponents of the Napa County Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection initiative release the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Napa Valley Vintners have decided to oppose this initiative. We worked in good faith with representatives of the NVV board to design a compromise initiative that would protect our watersheds while respecting the interests of grape growers. Unfortunately, under pressure from an aggressive sub-set of its membership, the NVV board recently reversed course and committed resources to defeat the initiative. It appears the NVV has become the instrument for outside mega-business interests, and have turned against its historic long-term efforts towards sustainability here in this treasure we call home.

“This initiative will protect Napa Valley’s long-term vitality, including grape growing. NVV acknowledges that its membership is not united in opposing this measure. We have heard from many long-time Napa Valley grape growers that they support the measure and are dismayed at NVV’s decision to oppose it.

“We will continue to work with community members from every walk of life, including those in the grape growing industry, to protect our shared resources for generations to come. Thousands of of Napa Valley voters did ask to have this initiative placed on the ballot.  Napa residents understand how important it is to protect our water quality, water supplies and shared natural resources. Let the voters decide.”