The Aesthetic Value of Vineyard Restrictions
Where ever there are hills and vines I think we can expect a movement to restrict exactly how vineyards are planted. We are seeing this scenario play out once again, this time in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco and one of the most impressive growing regions in the state.
Napa Valley and Sonoma County has already dealt with the issue of where and how vines can be planted on hillsides. The movement to preserve the hillsides as well as prevent erosion that might damage streams and creeks is one you really must respect.
MOUNTAINS & HILLSIDES DEFINE COMMUNITIES
One can make a very strong argument that, from a visual perspective, hillsides are far more important to protect than flat lands because they are so dramatically on display and often times are the most prominent geographic feature of a region or community. No matter where you are in Napa Valley, for example, you are surrounded by or have a perfect vista of the hills and mountains. And while we all seem to appreciate the green and symmetrical beauty of a well-planted vineyard, they can appear as great scabs on a hillside. Add to this the fact that vintners, given the opportunity, would probably pull down every last tree and shrub on a hillside simply because the grapes that are grown here are often very compelling and produce terrific wines.
In the Santa Cruz region it seems they are primarily making an argument that too many vineyards will cause excessive erosion. This may or may not be true. Nevertheless, it seems that they ought to be making an aesthetic argument too. You can guarantee the people of this region will enact some sort of ordinance restricting particular types of hillside planting.