Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Stop and search proposal for Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

The Napa Valley Vintners' Association wants to introduce the equivalent of the UK's old "suss laws" of stop and search to try to prevent the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter from entering the valley and infesting the vineyards. Jack Stuart, president of the NVVA and general manager of the Silverado winery, was in London last week and told Harpers that the insect has now been reported in the San Francisco bay area of Contra Costa County, about 50 miles south-east of Napa. "It makes us a little bit nervous," he said. "The Glassy-Winged was found in some vineyards near a residential development where there are a lot of ornamental plants. We believe that it is travelling with the ornamentals." Stuart said the association is trying to persuade the Californian state secretary for agriculture to bring in more stringent regulations so that all shipments, irrespective of where they come from, are searched. "We are trying to put up the Great Wall of China here," he said, "on the basis that we are a mono-culture of wine grapes. We are the principal industry and all the others, hotels, restaurants, etc - everything except the state mental institution and the veterans' home is dependent on us." The NVVA has decided to oppose the proposal, supported by companies such as Kendall-Jackson, to have a specific coastal appellation. "It is too big and too broad," said Stuart. "The coast is 700 miles long and the climate in San Diego near Mexico is like Barcelona, and up in Oregon and Washington State it is like London. How can that be one grape-growing area? Coastal implies higher quality but it does not allow for any specific characteristics. It is like saying the wines from the southern coast of Italy are the same as those from the south coast of Spain." Stuart's Silverado wines are distributed in the UK by Eurowines. He said that it is tough trying to sell his wines here because of the price. "In the early days the trade here used to wrinkle their noses at Californian wines, now it is the price, the strength of the pound - and we do not have any subsidies. In fact the US Government does everything it can to put us out of business. We have excise taxes and state laws which are legacies of Prohibition. Selling to 50 states is like selling to 50 countries, they all have their own bureaucracies," said Stuart.