Napa is in a perpetual struggle to exploit vs preserve. 50 years ago, amid a very heated debate, the valley proper was put into an agricultural preserve, preventing converting vineyards into housing. Properties in the Ag Preserve are allowed to do ag things only, though there is a debate as to whether entertainment and convention facilities and faux castles qualify as 'ag'.

The areas in the hills are not part of the Ag Preserve, but are in an area that is AWOS - Agriculture, Watershed, and Open Space. There are areas that are watershed woodlands, oak forests that provide lost of services, such as recharging the aquifer that everyone relies on, reducing erosion, etc.

There is a fight going on now, whether to allow the large corporations to buy the watershed woodlands and cut them down for more vineyard plantings. A couple of well financed operations are targeting thousands of acres of watershed woodlands for new vineyards.

Some questions:
- Let the market decide; if they can buy the oak forests, they can do as they please?
- Preserve the watersheds and make them off limits to development?
- Would it affect your wine purchases if you knew the producer was environmentally aggressive?

My view is obvious. I live on the Napa River which has a huge burden of silt from vineyards flowing down to the bay. As one colleague says, the terroir should be on the hills and not in the river.