Napa Valley

New Online Services with California ABC

In case you have not already heard, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has announced new online services. With these new online services, licensees will be able to establish a License Administrator Account for their business. Ability to apply for a new ABC license online is also coming soon. These new online services will help streamline and modernize wineries’ interactions with the ABC.

Online services currently available with the ABC include:

  • Managing or renewing a license, paying renewal fees online
  • Becoming RBS alcohol server certified
  • Maintaining RBS server roster to verify server certification status
  • Applying to be an RBS Training Provider


Last Chance to Register for the Vineyard Economics Seminar

The Wine Industry Symposium Group is hosting their 21st annual Vineyard Economics Seminar this Wednesday, May 25, at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel.  The all day seminar includes breakfast, all seminar materials, lunch, and wine tasting at the conclusion of the event.  The cost is $400/person.

The line-up this year includes speakers from banks, accountancy firms, government entities, engineers, and brokers to name just a few.  Topics to be discussed cover a broad spectrum and include “the current grape and bulk wine market”, “vineyard risk factors”, “tax updates for growers”, the drought and lenders.  If you are interested, you can register below.


Vineyard Economics Registration

2015 North Coast Vineyard Acreage Down

Originally outlined in The Press Democrat, April 14, 2016, vineyard acreage in the North Coast was down slightly for the second year in a row. The breakdown of this decline is what is most intriguing. Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties all decreased a bit, while Lake County acreage jumped 7.7%.

In an article titled “North Coast grape acreage losing ground,” Kevin McCallum suggests that cost and disease are the primary reasons for the increase in Lake County plantings. Cost is fairly straight forward as Napa grapes command an average $4336/ton, Sonoma at $2443/ton while Lake is at $1601/ton. Mendocino grapes are listed as $1520/ton. These prices per ton are tied somewhat to the cost of land and Lake County is significantly cheaper. Some winemakers have taken to blending Lake County grapes with fruit from Napa and/or Sonoma to reduce costs. Another cost factor has to do with a tight labor market and multiple years of drought.

Aside from cost, red blotch has been a huge problem affecting grapes in Napa and Sonoma. Some vineyards have been completely removed, but growers are hesitant to replant until more is known about the disease and how to prevent it. It seems that winemakers facing a dearth of grapes from Napa/Sonoma due to scarcity and/or cost can look to Lake County for fruit.

APAC Recommendations Head to Board of Supervisors

The formal recommendations of the Agricultural Protection Advisory Committee (APAC) will go before the Napa County Board of Supervisors for an initial review on Tuesday, September 8, with revisions made by the Napa Planning Commission. The issues involved are contentious. The Napa Valley Vintners, for one, supports the “formal recommendations of APAC as they were initially drafted” (NVV email 12/4/15) which includes among other things a provision allowing wineries to maintain “vested rights.” The revisions made by the Planning Commission would not exempt wineries with existing rights who apply for any modification to their permit (or, who apply for a permit for the first time). Contact us for more details, or to determine whether the changes as proposed may effect you.