Wine Country Economics — The Part-Time NIMBY Edition
Bill Hocker is a part-time resident of Napa Valley. He recommends my services as a marketer, while at the same time displays a remarkable misunderstanding of economics. Plus, he says, “Good riddance”.
Napa wine marketer Tom Wark is joining the exodus to Oregon. After residing in Wine Country for the last 25 years Mr. Wark has decided that he can’t afford to live here anymore.
Of course he bears some responsibility for the high cost of housing. As one of many people promoting Napa wines and wineries as good-life status symbols for the wealthy of the world, and the Valley as a good-life destination for masses of travelers wishing they were wealthy, the rise in housing prices is the direct result his efforts. I assume that he is going to Oregon in the hope that, with his help, it too will be unaffordable in a few years. But he will already have his house. One wonders why he didn’t buy a house before the boutique winery, vineyard, and tourism explosion that he has encouraged sent property prices soaring.
It’s a reasonable move for someone in his profession. As the exodus attests, Napa is beyond its peak. It has lost its authenticity, a victim of the efforts of good-life promoters and developers who, along with residents feeling the impacts of their work, now want as yet unspoiled locales to call home. Let’s hope more marketers follow his lead.
Of course, part-time Napa Valley resident Hocker is referring to my “Exit Interview From Napa Valley”. But he gets something wrong. I can afford to live here. I just can’t afford to buy the kind of house my family wants. But that doesn’t matter.
Part-time resident Hocker bemoans the fact that so many people are attracted to the various benefits of Napa Valley and concludes that this attractiveness is responsible for the high housing prices. He’s partly right. But as any thoughtful part-time resident of Napa Valley should know, there is the second part of the equation: Supply. Why is Napa part-timer Hocker not concerned about the lack of housing in the area that plays at least an equal part in keeping housing costs high as do the various elements of the Valley that create demand for housing? The important answer here is a lack of thoughtfulness on the Valley part-timer.
That said, If anyone is looking for an effective marketer, please consider part-timer Hocker’s endorsement of my skill. As you can read, he attributes some of the attractiveness of Napa Valley to my promotional and PR skills. I appreciate it and I’m honored by his endorsement. Thanks, Bill.
I must admit, however, I never promoted Napa Valley as “a good-life destination for masses of travelers wishing they were wealthy.” I never did this because, well, that would be stupid and insulting to travelers. People come to Napa Valley because they like wine and want to see where the best of it is made and taste the best of it. Should be build a wall and stop them, Bill? They come here because the beauty of the place is nearly unrivaled. Should we set up blockades on Highway 29 and Silverado Trail and only let residents in, Bill? They come here because they are taken by the restaurants here that provide a heightened exposure to the art of eating. Should we ban dining in Napa Valley, Bill? I don’t think I ever promoted Napa Valley as the kind of fantasyland for wealth seekers that part-time resident Hocker accuses me of doing. Again, that would be stupid and insulting.
Oh and one other thing, Bill: “One wonders why he didn’t buy a house before the boutique winery, vineyard, and tourism explosion that he has encouraged sent property prices soaring.” I did. I recommend folks do their homework before making crazy-ass statements.
Despite the lovely endorsement of my skills and talents as a marketer and public relations professional offered by part-time Napa resident Hocker, let me remind folks of something. Mr. Hocker is among the many NIMBYs in Napa who make emotional, unfactual claims about the Valley (and economics) that never come with evidence. There is a mood among some in Napa Valley to give in to their demands. Don’t. They’ll just ask for more and more and more and they’ll continue to demand more and more and more without offering any evidence to back up their batshit, crazy claims.
Last piece of advice, Napans. Don’t take advice or counsel about economics from someone who can’t even get the simplest rule of economics correct.
But, again, Mr. Napa Part-Timer, thanks for the endorsement of my marketing and public relations talents.