Idiots Residing In the Heart of Wine Country
This is the sentiment behind a move in my former home, the town of Sonoma, to restrict the number and type of wine tasting rooms that live on or near the town plaza. This article details what will certainly evolve into a major controversy in Sonoma between the idiots and the non-idiots.
The folks behind the effort to limit tasting rooms on the Sonoma Plaza haven’t said much as far as I can tell about the rights of property owners, about whether Sonoma Plaza-based tasting rooms have pushed out other retail operations like convenience stores or paint stores or pet stores, nor have they made much mention of the fact that without the tourism that keeps that little town alive and without the wine industry that attracts the tourists you’d have lots and lots of room for other types of stores because so much of the town plaza would be boarded up and empty.
Neither, as far as I can tell, have he supporters of bans on Sonoma Plaza tasting rooms made mention of the fact that the wine industry contributes over $13 Billion to the Sonoma County economy and provides over 50,000 jobs to the economy.
But by all means, let’s turn the heart of the Sonoma wine country, the Sonoma Town Plaza, into a maze of low-cost cigarette stores, Kinkos, and computer repair shops. That’ll kick up the tax base! And Lord knows how those folks that frequent computer repair shops like to book hotel rooms for the weekend while their Macs get fixed.
The leader of the band is former Mayor of Sonoma Larry Barnett, who said the proliferation of tasting rooms in Sonoma threaten to turn the town “into an open-air wine aisle supermarket.” I’m still trying to figure out what’s wrong with that?
If the suggestion of Barnett and his band to put a cap on the number and type of tasting rooms in Sonoma are put to a vote, no doubt you’ll hear a proliferation of nasty things said about tasting rooms by proponents the proposal. However, the proposal will go down to defeat. I lived in Sonoma Valley for 15 years. The folks that live there aren’t idiots. Well, not all of them.