Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Supes: Marketing Could Help Vineyards

Supes: Marketing Could Help Vineyards
By Ben Antonius

FAIRFIELD - With proper marketing and help from the county, Suisun Valley could become the next Napa Valley, the Board of Supervisors heard Tuesday.

That was the conclusion of the Agricultural Vision and Economic Innovation Report, a year-long study of the problems and potential of the valley.

The sentiment was that Solano County should be marketing and promoting wines and specialty crops produced in the valley, while also developing entertainment and tourist destinations. Agriculture Commissioner Jearl Howard presented the findings, which drew on dozens of interviews with farmers and residents in the valley.

If Solano County hopes to emulate Napa, it will be important to develop more than just places to buy produce, Supervisor Jim Spering said.

"If you don't develop an experience, I just don't see these stands and fruit stands surviving," he said.

The report found that many farmers feel they would be more successful if the county loosens its regulations on them, but Spering and Supervisor Barbara Kondylis said they wanted more specifics.

"Everybody always talks about these regulations, but can I see a list," Kondylis said. "Even if they're farfetched, I would like to know what they're talking about."

The findings of the report will be taken into consideration as Solano County updates its General Plan, a process that is under way now.

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

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