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We're Rock Hudson, they are not, says Napa chief

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jack Stuart outlines commitment to environment

Napa Valley wine accounts for $4 billion of California's annual $33 billion total. Speaking at Vintage 2000, in Oakville, Napa, Jack Stuart, general manager and winemaker of Silverado Vineyards and the president of the Napa Valley Vintners' Association (NVVA) outlined the association's commitment to the environment, farmworker housing and the control of Pierce's Disease. The NVVA is a member of the Watershed Task Force, addressing such issues as soil erosion, wildlife habitat and water quality. Some wineries are pioneering sustainable farming practices. The NVVA has joined with the Napa Valley Grape Growers' Association and the Napa County Farm Bureau to implement a voluntary assessment based on vineyard acreage. A portion of the $120,000 raised by this assessment has been used to build a temporary camp to house 30 migrant workers. The NVVA is working with the county to build farmworker housing. The NVVA is working with groups like the Glassy Wing Action Team to disseminate information and limit the spread of the pest. Through enforcement of plant importation regulations, the NVVA hopes that pesticide use can be avoided and the spread of this threat to California agriculture can be controlled. In what was regarded as a "truth in advertising issue", the California Senate Bill 1293 was passed protecting the Napa name. Local representative and co-author of the legislation, state senator Wes Chesbro said: "If it says Napa on the label, it should have Napa in the bottle." "If successful, people want to use that name," quipped Stuart. "We are Rock Hudson, they are not. "A study indicates that we have just begun to realise the growth from the present wine boom," said Stuart. The report says that as the Baby Boom generation - the largest group of wine drinkers - moves into their 50s and 60s, they are entering the stage in life where people are most apt to purchase quality products such as fine wine.