Sonoma County Wine Royalty and the Abdication of the Queen

Queen Elizabeth should abdicate the throne. Prince Charles should refuse the crown. William should be coronated as the King of England.

This is the solution to the problems the English royal family is currently facing, a problem symbolized by Harry and Megan’s recent announcement they wanted to pull away from being active members of the royal family and strike out on their own. The problem isn’t a rebellious Duke and Dutchess of Sussex. The problem is poor succession planning.

It is the same problem that Betsy Andrews explored in her recent SevenFifty Daily article, How Sonoma County Vintners Are Tackling Succession Planning”

Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers Association put the problem succinctly when she told Andrews, “Succession planning is critical to maintain the culture of family farming, with practices passed from one generation to the next, and love of the land that gives rise to stewardship.” 

Isn’t that the job of the British royal family? To be stewards of the crown? Great Britain will go on in the absence of a royal family. But the value of Great Britain possessing a crown and a royal family, despite its ceremonial function, is unquestionable. What happens when the heirs to the throne don’t appear to want much to do with that heritage?

Andrews’ story of succession planning in the Sonoma County wine industry is really well done, addressing the benefits of bringing in the next generation to the planning process in order to keep the family in the business of land stewardship. She was able to explore the emotional and financial issues that come with succession planning in a respectful and fascinating story.

These are the same problem the British Crown face. The Sussex Rebellion is a result of the current stewards of the Crown not integrating the future into the actual business of stewarding. The fact that a 96-year-old is insisting on clinging to control of the crown is itself evidence that while there is an official succession plan in place around the Crown, there exists little in the way of planning to sustain the value of the institution the Windsor family is charged with safeguarding. Would the Duke and Dutchess have announced their plan to flee to Canada had their generation of royals been integrated into the planning for the future of the crown?

These are exactly the issues faced by the Youngs, the Martinellis, the Benzingers and Duttons that are examined in the really terrific SevenFifty Daily article. In their own way, these are the royal families of Sonoma County winegrowing. Andrews’ article looks at how they faced the various interpersonal and intergenerational issues as they attempt to preserve what the families have built. The British royal family (well, the Queen and Prince of Wales) should have read this article. The wisdom it reports would have saved them from the crisis it currently faces.

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One Response

  1. Julie Ann Kodmur - January 14, 2020

    On point as always, Tom! Well stated!


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